01 September 2016

A Duel Between Colored Men

duelbetweencoloredmenSome say the custom of dueling had as its home, the antebellum South.  I think most of us would admit, when we think of a duel, we picture two white men.  But that wasn't the case 100% of the time.  Here is a newspaper article telling the details of the summer of 1868 duel between Jackson Brand and Eugene Morehead, both of Savannah, Georgia.  (Image is of a shorter article printed in Michigan's Jackson Citizen.) There is one commonality amongst all the duels I've covered, including this one:  politics.

Daily Constitutionalist (Augusta, Georgia)
5 June 1868 [via GenealogyBank]

From the Savannah News & Herald, 4th.

Duel Between two Colored Men – One Killed.

A duel was fought yesterday at Screven's Ferry, on the Carolina shore, between two colored men of this city, respectively named Jackson Brand and Eugene Morehead, which resulted in the death of the former.

The facts, as far as could be ascertained, are as follows:  Jackson Brand was President of the Colored Conservative Club No. 1 and Eugene Morehead Vice-President.  Brand was not long ago a violent Radical and a member of the Union League, but changed his politics and became an ardent supporter of the Conservative principles.  Among the members in the Conservative club of which he was president, were  a few who believed he was playing a double game, among them was Morehead, who kept a close watch upon him.  On Monday last Morehead observed Brand leaving the house of a noted Radical, and at once accused him of double dealing, and said, among other things, that he (Brand) had made a speech in the Loyal League, in which he had stated that it was his intention to wash his hands in the blood of every Southern man.  Brand denied the charge and a hot quarrel ensued, which, but for the interposition of friends, would have terminated in a fight on the spot.  They separated, and the next day (Tuesday) Brand sent a challenge to mortal combat to Morehead, Alex. Hardee, Secretary of the Conservative club, bearing the missive.  On handing the note to Morehead, Hardee was asked by him what it was all about.  Hardee replied that it was a challenge to fight, and that Brand had sent it, whereupon Morehead, who is unable to read or write, asked Hardee to read it, which was done.  Morehead then asked Hardee to write an acceptance of the challenge, and state that he would choose double barrelled [sic] shot guns, loaded with sixteen buckshot, the distance sixteen paces, and the duel at Screven's Ferry the next morning at 7 o'clock.  The challenge was written, carried, agreed to, and every preparation made for the meeting on the "field of honor" the next morning.

Early yesterday morning found the parties on their way to the ground.  Brand was accompanied by his second, Alex. Hardee, and Morehead by his, [Haine Spearlug?].  There were about a dozen friends along but no surgeon.  About a quarter past nine the preliminaries were arranged and the opponents placed opposite each other, fifteen paces distant, with double barrelled guns, one barrel of each being loaded with sixteen buckshot.  Brand seemed somewhat nervous, while Morehead was perfectly cool and collected.  At the command both simultaneously fired, and Brand fell, exclaiming "I'm not whipped yet," while at the same time was heard the exultant shout of Morehead, "By God, I've got him," and afterwards he remarked that Brand seemed so "scared like" that he thought he would not kill him but shoot him in the legs and give him time to repent of his treachery.  Brand's second went to him as soon as he fell, and found that the charge from Morehead's gun had entered both thighs.  Brand was quite weak from the loss of blood, and he could not stand up, but said if his second would hold him up he would exchange shots again.  His second very properly refused to allow any further hostilities.  Morehead then walked over to where Brand was lying, and shook hands with him.  With the assistance of Morehead and the others, Brand was carried to the boat, and brought to the city, and then placed in a vehicle and carried to his house near the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad Depot.  Drs. Bulloch and Morrison were sent for, but the sufferer had been so long without medical aid, that their skill was unavailing, excepting to alleviate the pain, and he died at a quarter to twelve, two hours and a half after receiving the wound, which severed one, and probably both of the femoral arteries.

Dr. Myers, coroner, held an inquest at half past three o'clock.  The seconds of the parties testified substantially as above stated, and Drs. Bulloch and Morrison that they had been called in, and found the wounded man very weak from loss of blood, and that so much blood had been lost, that it was impossible to save him.  The jury rendered a verdict as follows:  "We find that the deceased came to his death from a gun-shot wound inflicted from the hands of Eugene Morehead, in a duel on the South Carolina shore."

The deceased, who is about 35 years old, will be buried to-day.

From parties who were present at the duel, we learn that each of the duelists seemed determined to shoot the other, but the nervousness of Brand made him miss.  Both parties were advised not to go, but would not heed the advice.  Their neglect in not providing a surgeon was most criminal, and caused the death of Brand who otherwise would now, most probably, be alive and out of danger.  We understand that Morehead, upon being asked why surgeons had not been obtained, replied that he went to one, and he charged fifty dollars, and "I couldn't afford it; anyway, I didn't intend to be killed, and I thought the other fellow would have sense enough to bring one."

Jackson Brand was laid to rest at Laurel Grove Cemetery South in Savannah.  According to the inscription on his tombstone, broken and lying on the ground in 2012, Jackson was 39 years old at death.  His stone was Erected By his affectionate Wife, Sarah Brand.

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