Digital Library of Georgia > Civil Unrest in Camilla, Georgia, 1868

Affidavit of Howard Bunts: Dougherty County, Georgia, 1868 Sept. 23

author: Howard, O. H.
date: September 23, 1868
extent: 3p
summary: In the affidavit taken on September 23, 1868, Howard Bunts, a 19-year-old carpenter and freedman, gives his account of September 19, 1868 to O.H. Howard, sub-assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau in Georgia. Bunts' account of the day, a day notable due to violence in Camilla, Georgia between freedmen together with Republicans and the white townspeople who opposed them, emphasizes the events leading up to the initial disturbance in front of the Camilla courthouse. Bunts is an important witness, as he was playing the fife on the bandwagon targeted by James Johns, the intoxicated Camilla resident who fired the first shots in the incident.
repository: DeSoto Trail Regional Library (Camilla, Ga.)
collection: Civil Unrest in Camilla, Georgia, 1868

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Affidavit of Howard Bunts, (colored.)
State of Georgia, -- Dougherty County;
[added text: 1x]

Before me, O. H. HOWARD, Brevet Major United States Army, 2nd Lieut. 5th Artillery, S. A. Commissioner Bureau R. F. & A.L. [Sub-assistant Commissioner Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands], personally came Howard Bunts (colored) who, being duly sworn, deposes and says that he is 19 years of age, that he is by occupation a carpenter, that on or about the 13th day of September 1868 he received a notice of a political meeting to be held at Camilla Mitchell County Georgia, on Saturday Sept. 19th 1868, said meeting to be addressed by Capt. Wm. P. Pierce and others; that he, deponent, went to Camilla as a member of a band to play the fife and to hear the speaking, that a "considerable crowd" of colored men women and children was with the band; that a portion of the freedmen had guns, as is customary with them on all occasions; that when near Camilla they were met by a small party of whitemen [white men] who told the freedmen that they must leave their arms and music outside of town, that no attention was paid to this, at

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that time, that when within about one fourth of a mile of Camilla, the procession was met by a man on horseback who was said to be the Sheriff of the County; that he, deponent, did not hear what this man said, but was told that he said the "speaking" must be held "out of town" as, if they went into the town they might be attacked, that the procession went on into the town and that, as the band wagon reached the "square," a man came up to the wagon and ordered the music stopped, saying that if they did not stop, he would "shoot into them," that this man had in his hand a double barrelled shot gun, and that "one barrel had the hammer at a full cock." that the band continued playing, and that immediately this man fired at the musicians, that the firing then commenced from all sides, that deponent was hit in the arm, and in the head, and falling from the

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wagon was stunned; deponent soon recovered consciousness, and as the firing was still going on, he escaped to a swamp, that he succeeded in reaching the house of Mr F. F. Putney about One o'clock the next morning.

Howard Bunts
Sworn to and subscribed before me, at Albany,
Ga., this 23d day of September, A. D. 1868.
O. H. Howard
Brevet Major U. S. Army,
2nd Lieut. 5th Artillery, S. A. Commissioner,
Bureau Refugees, Freedmen & Ab'd Lands [Sub-assistant Commissioner Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands]

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