The Riot in Richmond
The fact that there was a riot in Richmond on Tuesday last has got into the papers, and of course the obligation of secrecy is removed. We have seen intelligent persons who were there and from them and the Richmond papers we learn that those engaged in the disgraceful affair were principally foreigners, abandoned prostitutes and thieves, and that the object was not bread, but robbery. Stores were gutted and shoes, clothing, cloths, brooms &c seized. The number engaged were nothing like as large as has been reported, and the whole things was soon quelled. The ringleaders have been arrested and sent on by the Mayor for a hearing before the Hastings Court. We have no doubt but men – Baltimore “Plugs” and foreign and Yankee thieves – planned and started the whole thing for the purposes of plunder and robbery.
The Examiner, of Saturday, in an article on the subject says:
“The reader will find in the report of the evidence in the Police Court, the true account of a so called riot in the streets of Richmond. A handful of prostitutes, professional thieves, Irish and Yankee hags, gallows birds from all lands but our won, congregated in Richmond, with a woman huckster at their head, who busy veal at the toll gate for a hundred and sells the same for two hundred and fifty in the morning market, undertook the other day to put into private practice the principles of the Commissary Department. Swearing that they would have goods “At Government prices” they broke open half a dozen shoe stores, hat stores, and tobacco houses and robbed them of everything but bread which was just the thing they wanted least. Under the Demagogue’s delusion that they might be “poor people,” “starving people,” and he like, an institution of charity made a distribution of rice and flour and who would ask for it. Considering the circumstances, it was a vile, cowardly, and pernicious act; but the manner in which it was received exhibits the character of the mob. Miscreants were seen to dash the rice and flour into the muddy street, where the traces still remain, with the remark that “if that was what they were going to give, they might go to h—l.” It is greatly to be regretted that this most villainous affair was not punished on the spot. Instead of shooting every wretch engaged at once, the authorities contented themselves with the ordinary arrest and hence the appearance of the matter in the print paper of the morning.
** This article is representative of the attitudes of some Richmond leaders – that the riot was indeed led by unscrupulous opportunists. For more on the Richmond Bread Riot, see the Encyclopedia Virginia.
Source: Greensborough Patriot, April 9, 1863 as found on www.ncecho.org
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