Lafayette’s 1824-1825 ‘Friend of the Nation’ tour of America was the most sensational event of the decade. Lafayette went out of his way to pass through almost every state of the Union, in a giant loop starting in the Northeast, through the South, to New Orleans, upriver to St. Louis, and up the Ohio back to where he started. Crowds cheered him wildly at every place along the way. Lafayette, refusing no invitation, probably shook almost that many hands. He visited Hamburg and Augusta, unfortunately his secretary’s record is skimpy. Of course most of their journals were lost months later in the Ohio River when their riverboat hit a snag and sank in the middle of the night.
Dock Adams was captain of the militia company during the Hamburg Massacre. His testimony covers 40 pages of South Carolina in 1876, the report of the Senate investigation. This is as close as we can get to what the citizens of Hamburg went through that night.
It’s no easier to read than anything else that has to do with the massacre. But this is Dock’s voice, and his actions that night reveal a character of leadership and enterprise that is confirmed by other testimonies.
Read SC in 1876 – Dock Adams (PDF)
This well known book was one of the local histories that were very popular at the end of the 19th Century. It has a great chapter on Hamburg, just consider that much was written from recollection with the biases of its time. It captures the spirit well and keeps the story alive!
Under a Senate resolution 5/6 Dec 1876, the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections appointed a subcommittee of three members to visit the State of South Carolina: Angus Cameron (WI), Isaac P. Christiancy (MI), and Augustus Summerfield Merrimon (NC). This subcommittee took testimony in Columbia in December and January and produced a three volume report that is the only place where both sides got to tell their story.