The Camilla Affair
October 12, 1868
Discuss how fair an African American jury could be. "Would jury of Negros be unbiased?" They do not think so
The Camilla Affair. The report of Captain Mills, under the order of General Sibley, the substance of which was given on Saturday by the telegraph, does not change materially the facts previously published in detail by us. The only noticeable point in this official addition to the history of the not the comment which General Sibley makes in his communication to the grand department of " Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands." In this, General Sibley speaks of there being no action on the part of the civil authorities to bring " the guilty parties to punishment." And he adds that such action would have been useless, as "no unbiased jury would have been found in that county." What then ? What would these great men have ? Would a jury of negroes have been unbiassed ? or where would a jury have been found that "were unbiassed ? The poisonous Radical press inculpated the whites, as a matter of course ; and their malignant falsehoods have driven all honest men, whose minds are not incapacitated for judgment by fanaticism, to take tho opposite side from them on all occasions. So it might be asked whether an impartial jury could be found in the Union to try this cause ? But what was the necessity of trying the guilty parties ? The affair was notorious. All its particulars were known everywhere. Many of the guilty parties were killed, and the event was a lesson that carried with it a force not to go heightened by a long trial, which would have perhaps only given rise to bad feelings. It was necessary just now that something should be made out of the riot for the Radicals, and hence the statement that the " guilty parties " have not been tried, and that no unbiassed jury could be found to try them. As white men only are jurors in Georgia, the intimation of these military men is plain that white men were the "guilty parties." Of course these "unbiassed" and fair officials, reporting to the " Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands," could hardly have come to any other conclusion ; and yet it is a monstrous deduction from the facts they themselves report.
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“The Camilla Affair,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed April 19, 2019, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1151.