Affray Between Gen. Mahone and John Lyon,
March 23, 1871
The Lawyer from Petersburg and General Mahone started a fight after the Senate passed the bill that allowed the Committee of Nine to have access to the railroad. There were many punches thrown and a pistol was shot.
An affray occurred on Franklin street, near the Exchange Hotel, yesterday afternoon, which caused no little excitement throughout the city in view of | the prominence of the parties directly concerned in the railroad war just brought to a close in the General Assembly. These parties were Gen. Wm. Mahone, president of the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio railroad, and Capt. John Lyon, a well-known lawyer of Petersburg. The accounts given of the encounter are rather conflicting, and the details cannot be given with accuracy until the witnesses ave been examined in court. The statement of the friends of General Mahone is that he and a friend were standing on the Exchange Hotel corner about half an talking, hour after the bill about which there has been such a controversy passed the Senate. They saw Mr. Lyon and two other gentlemen coming down on the same'Hotel'side'and'of the street towards the Exchange'Hotel and 'from the direction of the Capitol. Reaching the Exchange corner, they turned, and Captain Lyon said, "Good evening, General," or something to that effect, as he approached General Mahone and his friend. General Mahone replied, " Mr. Lyon, hereafter I don't wish you to speak to me. You're a d-- scoundrel." Thereupon Captain Lyon struck the General a'pretty severe blow on the head. It was returned. A scuffle ensued. In the scuffle a'Derringer pistol in the bands of General Mahone went off. The parties were then separated by mutual friends.'The friends of Captain Lyon differ from those who furnished the account just given in several respects. It is said by them, as'by the others, that General Mahone and his friend were standing on the Exchange Hotel comer. The General was tapping, the lamp-post lightly with his cane, when'be saw Captain Lyon and friends coming down the street. They bowed to General'Mahone and turned towards the 14th-street'entrance to the Exchange, when the General beckoned with his cane as if for Captain Lyon to return. He did so. General'Mahone's first words were, "Don't you ever'speak to me again." Capt. Lyon promptly replied in the same tone that he never'would. General Mahone immediately rejoined, " If you do, you damned scoundrel, I'll-- ." Before the sentence was finished'the epithet was resented by a blow, which'was quickly returned. Almost in a moment'the parties clinched. General Mahone drew'a Derringer pistol from his pocket, and'seemed to be trying to cock it,.the muzzle being close to the breast of his opponent.'when his arm was seized by a bystander, and the pistol was not tired until a minute'or two later. They were then forcibly taken'apart, and each escorted to his room by friends.'The result of the affray was not serious'to either of the participants. A few minutes after the pistol-shot the police were on the ground. Gen. Mahone and Capt. Lyon were both arrested by Capt. J. M. Tyler, Detective Rogers, and Officer Goodman. Subsequently they were bailed to appear before the Police Court this morning for a'hearing. Gen. Mahone's bondsman is Col.'Walter H. Taylor, of Norfolk, Capt. Lyon^s sureties are Major B. H. Nash and H. K.'Ellyson, of Richmond. The charge against both parties on the police record is, ''tiring a pistol and creating a disturbance in the street.
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“Affray Between Gen. Mahone and John Lyon,,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed December 8, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/2019.