President Ulysses S Grant Telegram To Gettysburg General Ruger -sc Gov Election 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. 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.
TelegramfromUlysses S. Grant as President to Gettysburg General Thomas Ruger
written amidst the South Carolina Gov. Election Turmoil
President U.S. Grantasks General Thomas Ruger (Gettysburg Hero)to honor Governor Chamberlain as the only authorized Governor of South Carolina until further notice; in addition, wants Ruger to use all his powers to protect the Governor and canvass voting to prevent unauthorized persons to distrct or sabotage the voting process
2 Pages of Content on Two Adjoined Sheets. Dimensions are8 x5inches.
The letter reads as follows:
Dec. 3, 1876
To Genl. Ruger
Fearing your instructions may be conflicting and leave you in doubt as to your duties in the present unhappy condition of affairs in South Carolina, I wish to say this: Governor Chamberlain is the legal, constitutional Governor of the State and remains so until the Legislature canvasses the vote and installs his successor and he is entitled as such to your support and protection. It is a civil duty to organize the Legislature evolving on state authorities all you can do is to prevent unauthorized persons from forcibly interfering with the Governor and other authorized officers in the performance of their duties. To be plain I want to avoid anything like an unlawful use of the military but it will be right to sustain the Governor or any of his agents or officers in the performance of any duty in connection with the outsiders in the performance of that duty.
U.S. Grant "
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