The Memphis Riots

June 1, 1866


Reports on Memphis riots conclude that the body of rioters is mostly police, firemen, "negro-haters in general", and Yankee-haters, the majority drunk. The recorder of the city makes a speech saying that they are prepared to clear all blacks out of Memphis.


The Secretary of War on Wednesday sent to the House, in compliance with a resolution of that body, the reports of General Stoneman in regard to the Memphis riots. General Stoneman, after giving the history of the riots, concludes as follows: "As before stated, the rioters were composed of the police, firemen, and the rabble, and negro-haters in general, with a sprinkling of Yankee-haters, all led on and encouraged by demagogues and officehunters, and most of them under the influence of whisky. It appears in evidence before the commission that John Creighton, the recorder of the city, made a speech to the rioters, in which he said : 'We are not prepared, but let us prepare to clear every negro s-n of a b-h out of town.' Very few paroled Confederates were mixed up with the rioters on Tuesday and Wednesday, the larger portion being registered voters. Who composed the incendiaries on Wednesday night remains to be developed."
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Brooke Beam




“The Memphis Riots,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 30, 2023,