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General William T. Sherman Telegram To Gen. Ruger - Sc Gov. Election Turmoil For Sale
1876 South Carolina Gubernatorial Election - IMPORTANT BACKGROUND:
The months leading up to the election of 1876 in South Carolina were rife with tension. Violence was ever present and groups of armed men, calling themselves "rifle clubs," roamed the countryside. Supporters of the Democratic Party, they would often break up Republican meetings and intimidate Republican voters, both white and black. Black Republicans would often do the same toward black Democrats, Freedmen disillusioned with the corruption and broken promises of the Republican Party. Gen. Thomas Ruger was tasked with assisting Governor Daniel Chamberlain and the United States Marshals in keeping the peace.Under the watchful eyes of U. S. troops, who had been placed at various polls throughout the state, Election Day came and went with little event. The result of the gubernatorial election, however, was anything but peaceful. In the first days of ballot counting, it appeared that Republican incumbent Daniel Chamberlain would win a second term, but by Thursday Democratic challenger (and South Carolina's favorite son) Wade Hampton III took the lead. Hampton declared a victory, but Chamberlain claimed voter fraud due to stuffed ballots in Edgefield and Laurens Counties. As a result, the Board of Canvassers was unable to certify the election. President Grant declared Chamberlain governor and the State Supreme Court proclaimed Hampton the victor. In addition to the gubernatorial mess, two separate Houses of Representatives convened, one Democratic and one Republican, both claiming legitimacy.
Official, Original 1876 Telegram-
Telegramfrom General William T. Sherman toGeneral Thomas Ruger
amidst the South Carolina Gov. Election Turmoil
General William T. Sherman relays information toGeneral Ruger; Sherman states that Ruger's Dispatches were given to the Secretary of War (J. Cameron) and have been the subject of a Cabinet meeting [President Grant's cabinet].
Full transcript of the telegram:
"Washington D.C.Dec 1,1876
To General Th. Ruger,
Your two dispatches of yesterday were read also that of this morning all were placed in the hands of the Secy of War and have been the subject of a cabinet meeting at which the Secy. will advise you directly.
W. T. Sherman
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General William T. Sherman Telegram To Gen. Ruger - Sc Gov. Election Turmoil: $53