91st PA--General Gregory and the Maryland Freedmen's Bureau

The Camp Meeting Outrage

[I have proofread this item.]

Report of the Freedmen's Bureau Investigating Committee.
BALTIMORE, Thursday, Oct. 18

The Freedmen's Bureau has concluded its investigation of the outrage on the camp meeting at Shipley's Woods, and the following is the result:

BALTIMORE, Md., Oct. 13, 1866.

To Major-Gen. O. O. Howard, Commissioner Freedmen, Bureau, Washington:

GENERAL: In accordance with instructions, I have the honor to report that I have carefully examined into the cause and origin of the riot which occurred on the night of the 30th August, 1866, at a camp meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Shipley's Woods, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. More than 40 witnesses have been examined at this office, including prominent ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, many of the tent-holders and many of the colored people themselves, as well as strangers accidentally present. By the evidence it appears that for a long series of years the Methodist Episcopal Church has been in the habit of holding camp-meetings on the ground named above, at which it was the universal custom for colored people to attend; that on this occasion the colored people were present as usual, and had their camping ground assigned to them by proper officers appointed for the purpose of selecting a camping ground for both white and colored persons; that the camp-meeting was more than usually quiet and orderly until the last night of the meeting; that the meeting on the night of the 30th of August was one of more than usual solemnity and impressiveness, and that the riot was instigated by a number of white men making an attack upon colored people while in the act of prayer, evidently with the view of involving the whites engaged in camp-meeting in a riot. This fact is shown from the white rioters always retreating within the circle of the white people's tents when pursued by the negroes, and also by threats against the white ministers. It is shown conclusively by the evidence that the negroes acted only in self-defence, and left the ground entirely when advised to do so by the white preachers, thus leaving their tents and goods to be destroyed and burned by white rioters. From a careful reading of the whole testimony, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that the riot was premeditated, and that the object of the riot was--first, an attack upon the colored people, and, second, a deliberate attempt to break up the camp-meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church on account of the alleged Anti-Slavery sentiments of its ministers and members. I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Brevet Major-Gen. Vols., Assist. Commissioner.

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revised 27 Aug 02
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