Letter From Petersburg

June 2, 1866


A party of blacks goes to a white man's home and demands his weapons, which he gives to them. Later, police arrest one of the blacks involved, resulting in his gang demanding his release from prison. The gang is persuaded to back down from their request.


There was some disturbance yesterday in Dinwiddie, within a few miles of the city, which was very near resulting in serious consequences. A party of negroes presented themselves at the house of a gentleman, and in his absence demanded of the overseer the possession of some arms which had been stored there for safe keeping. Having no means of resisting the demand, he was compelled to surrender them. Information being conveyed to the police of the county, one of the negroes was arrested, and while in the act of being taken before a magistrate, another party of negroes, to the number of twenty or thirtyall armed with muskets- confronted the officers and demanded the release of the prisoner. One of the gentlemen, however, after reasoning with them, and representing the consequences of such a proceeding, succeeded in dissuading them from their purpose. The offender was committed, together with two or three others of the original gang, who were subsequently arrested. This is believed to be the first instance of serious violence which has taken place in this vicinity. As a general thing, there is no part of the State or of the south where the colored population has been more orderly.
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Brooke Beam




“Letter From Petersburg,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/194.