Calling Out the Militia in Tennessee to Suppress the Ku Klux Klan January 1869

Pat Young

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On January 20, 1869 Governor Brownlow called out the militia in Tennessee to suppress the Ku Kluxers. The Klan had dramatically escalated racial and political violence in 1868, culminating in the murder of a detective sent to investigate the terrorist group in January, 1869. This thread will discuss the use of the militia in the first part of 1869 in Tennessee.

The Avalanche was a pro-Klan newspaper:

Memphis Daily Avalanche
Saturday, Jan 30, 1869
Memphis, TN
Vol: Twelve
Issue: 26
Page: 1

miitia1.JPG

militia2.JPG

militia3.JPG
 

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Pat Young

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Once the militia was called out, this @@@@ got real!

Commercial Appeal
Thursday, Jan 28, 1869
Memphis, TN
Vol: 29
Page: 4
martial law1.JPG


I am not posting the full article. It describes meetings in different counties against the militia being sent in.
 

Pat Young

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Once the militia was called out, this @@@@ got real!

Commercial Appeal
Thursday, Jan 28, 1869
Memphis, TN
Vol: 29
Page: 4
View attachment 218737

I am not posting the full article. It describes meetings in different counties against the militia being sent in.
 

CSA Today

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In understanding why the Klan originated in Tennessee and became such a powerful force there it is important to understand the reasons.

“When the Radical legislature assembled in Nashville in April 1865 Under Governor Brownlow, Tennessee's era of trial and tribulation began. A law was promptly enacted providing for the limitation of the elective franchise, the effect of which was to take the vote away from ex-Confederates and Confederate sympathizers, along with all white men who were not pro-Radicals in their views. Brownlow, by reason of his legalized authority over the registration of voters, really had the power to say who could and who could not vote. In Davison County in July 1867, the total registration was 6000, of which 16000 were white and 4400 were negroes; whereas before the war the total all white registration was 6500.

A special law was passed denying to ex-Confederates the rights to possess arms, but conveying this right on 'loyal men' – almost the entire body of so-called loyal men in Middle and West Tennessee at this time being negroes. Also, a state guard was authorized, this also to be composed of 'loyal men'; this in addition to United States troops who were quartered in the state. This system of law enforcement broke down almost completely, and the convictions for such common offenses as murder, rape and arson were hard to contain, Furthermore, even when criminals were convicted they seldom served their time, as Governor Brownlow was liberal and prompt with pardons for radical offenders.

To quote the Congressional Committee's report: 'The great mass of the people of Tennessee felt that they were outlawed and denied the protection of government. They felt they had no right of person or of property respected by the ruling powers. They believed that they were purposely disarmed and that being so, whatever they loved or prized was at the mercy of an ignorant race, whose ignorance and whose passions were played upon by corrupt parties, with sinister purposes, and internecine warfare was painfully apprehended. Under these circumstances, and at such a time, produced by this most unhappy legislation and rule, many impulsive men felt that their only means of personal safety and protection to themselves, their wives, their daughters, their mothers, their sisters, and their helpless ones, was in secret organization. While all history attests their mistake, all history attest that it is the resort of the oppressed against the oppressor. And while may and do condemn secret political organizations.we condemn with equal severity the tyranny of the pressor out of which they have their birth.'

While Brownlow was exercising his peculiar talent for discord and cooking up his ***** broth of misgovernment, the Loyal League had also been busy and soon had the League thoroughly established throughout the state. Wherever a League blossomed trouble was sure to follow, in 1867 this trouble was intensified by the approaching election, in which campaign the Radical orators inflamed the negroes against whites and provoked them to deeds of violence. In Franklin, for example, the members of the League kept the citizens in a constant state of alarm by marching through the town, night after night, making noisy demonstrations with fife and drum and boisterous shouts, flourishing their weapons. The explosion came when a black conservative had the temerity to make a political speech, and armed League members broke up the meeting and marched away firing their guns into the air. That night there was a fatal clash between a parade of exulting negroes of the League and an armed party of Conservatives, black and white, who attempted to prevent their demonstrating on the Public Square. When the gunfire subsided and the smoke cleared away one white Conservative was dead and six white and seven negro members of that party were wounded, along with twenty-seven wounded Leaguers.”

Stanley Fitzgerald Horn, Invisible Empire: The Story of the Ku Klux Klan, 1866-1871, pp. 74-76.
1866-1871, pp. 74-76.

Suggested reading: Chapter IV Tennessee.
 
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