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

Affidavit of Daniel Howard: Albany, Georgia, 1868 Sept. 25

author: Howard, O. H.
date: September 25, 1868
extent: 4p
summary: This is the affidavit Daniel Howard gives to Freedman's Bureau subassistant commissioner O.H. Howard in Albany, Georgia on September 25, 1868. Daniel Howard, a twenty-year-old laborer employed by Colonel S. Montgomery in Dougherty County, Georgia, gives his account of the Camilla Riot, an incident that occurred in Camilla, Georgia on September 19, 1868 when Republicans together with freedmen came to Camilla to hold a political rally and were met with violent opposition from the townspeople. On the day of the riot Daniel Howard joined a procession of freedmen into Camilla about five miles outside of town, and soon they met up with Republican party candidate for elector John Murphy, Republican congressional candidate William P. Pierce, Republican plantation owner Francis Flagg Putney, and ousted Republican Georgia state legislator Philip Joiner. Then the entire group encountered Camilla resident James Johns, who, according to Daniel Howard, upon approaching them on horseback with a double-barrelled shotgun, proclaimed, "by God I am courier on this road and you can't go into Camilla with that music," and added, "but you can go in, just as you damn please you'll get hurt anyhow." They were next met by Sheriff Mumford S. Poore who told Murphy "I don't think you've a right to come down to Camilla with an army of men, to take the place." Yet the group proceeded into town and were met again by James Johns who ordered the music to stop and when his order went unheeded began firing his shotgun into the bandwagon. Johns's shots were followed immediately by shots from other white men, and most of the freedmen fled. Daniel Howard waited to make his escape until many of the white men had left in pursuit of the freedmen then he fled to the woods but was soon "driven to a ditch and forced to surrender." Daniel Howard then recalls that he was struck in the head with the butt of a gun and forced to return to Camilla to help whites picking up wounded men in a wagon. There he overheard the white men saying that if the freedmen had come without guns they would have surrounded them and killed them all.
repository: DeSoto Trail Regional Library (Camilla, Ga.)
collection: Civil Unrest in Camilla, Georgia, 1868

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State of Georgia, -- -- -- Dougherty County ;

Before me, O. H. HOWARD, Brevet Major United States Army,
2nd Lieut. [Lieutenant] 5th Artillery, S. A. [Sub Assistant] Commissioner Bureau R. F. & A.
L. [Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands], personally came Daniel Howard, (Colored.) who, being duly sworn, deposes and says, [added text: [] that he is 20 years old, that he is by occupation a laborer, in the employ of Col. S. Montgomery . in Dougherty County Ga,

That on the morning of Saturday Sept, 19" 1868, a party of about 20 freedmen "came along the road" and told him that there was to be "a speaking" at Camilla, ( Mitchell Co. Ga ) on that day, and that he joined them, that at about 5 miles from Camilla at Tinsley's Mill, they, the freedmen were joined by Capt Wm. P. Pierce, Mr Putney, Mr Murphy and Phillip [Philip] Joiner, in buggies, that about 3 miles from Camilla, the freedmen were met by one James Johns (white) on horse back, with a double barrelled shot gun in his hand, that Johns said "by God I am courier on this road.

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and you can't go into Camilla with that music," and added "but you can go in, just as you damn please you'll get hurt anyhow", That he, Johns then rode to town, or in that direction, that they were next met by the Sheriff of the County, who said to Mr Murphy "I dont think you've a right to come down to Camilla with an army of men, to take the place (or words to that effect) that Mr Murphy replied, "I did not come down for that but to make a public speech, the same as I have been doing all over the Country," that deponent then went on, and heard no more, That when the band wagon entered the "square" this man Johns went up to it and said "Stop that music God damn you, or I'll shoot you" (or words to that Effect,) that as the music did not stop Johns said "by God I've been your ruler many years & Expect to [illegible text] for many more"

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and then raised a double barrelled gun that he held & taking aim at the musicians, fired, that deponent was but about 15 steps from Johns, when the shot was fired, that this shot was followed by a volley from the whites, & that the firing became general from the whites,

Deponent further states, that he had his gun with him but that it was not loaded, that most of the freedmen "broke & run", that he deponent, fearing to be killed, did not run until most of the whites had scattered in pursuit of the fugitives & then took to the woods but was soon driven to a ditch & forced to surrender, that he deponent was seized, struck over the head with the butt of a gun, & forced back to Camilla, that while "hiding out," .he said the whites on horseback run the fugitives down, and as they came up with them, they

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the whites would, lean over & placing their guns & pistols almost on the freedmen, shoot them dead, Deponent further swears that he was forced to attend a party of whites, with a small wagon picking up wounded men, that other parties were gathering up & burying the dead, that while with these white men, the whites said, & repeatedly, that "if the god damned niggers, had only come without guns, as we tried to have them, we could have surrounded them & killed the last damned one of them", Deponent further swears that they, the whites, stated that it was their intention to get the freedmen into town without their guns & then to kill them all, that this was said by them while conversing among themselves,

Daniel [added text: his] X [added text: mark] Howard
Sworn to and subscribed before me, at Albany,
Ga., this 25th day of September, A. D. 1868 .

[Signed] O. H. Howard

Brevet Major U. S. Army,
2nd Lieut. [Lieutenant] 5th Artillery, S. A. [Sub Assistant] Commisioner [Commissioner], Bureau Refugees, Freedmen & Ab'd Lands [Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands] .

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