The Battle of Liberty Place


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Old 07-22-2012, 04:54 PM   #1
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Default The Battle of Liberty Place

The Battle of Liberty Place was an insurrection by The White League against the Reconstruction state government in September, 1874 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The 1872 gubernatorial election was contested between Democrat John McEnery and Republican William Pitt Kellogg. Finally, the Democrat paramilitary Crescent City White League, formed by Confederate vets, took-up arms and beat the racially-integrated police and state militia.

The insurrection was by white Democrats and part of a struggle against what they deemed a corrrupt and illegal Reconstruction government. In 1872, Democrat McEnery ran with the support of anti-Grant Republicans including incumbant Gov. Warmoth. Republican Party loyalists supported Pitt Kellogg. Governor Warmoth's administered election declared McEnery the winner. Another board claimed election fraud due to voter intimidation and endorsed Kellogg. The legislature impeached Warmoth for "stealing" the election. Both McEnery and Kellogg had inaugural parties.

In 1874 McEnery formed a "rump" legislature. The White League entered the capital city with 5-9,000 paramilitary troops and fought against a force of 3,600 Metropolitan Police, city policemen, and African-American militia troops who were armed with two Gatling guns and artillery. They were commanded by former Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet, the only rebel commander to become a Republican. He rode out to meet the White League and stop the violence but was hit by a ricocheting bullet and taken prisoner. The White League charged, causing many of Longstreet's men to retreat or surrender. 38 were killed and 79 wounded.

The "insurgents" captured the state house, armory, as well as downtown area and threw Pitt Kellogg out of his offices. Within three days the White League insurgents disbursed before Grant's advancing Federal troops as they entered the city. No-one was ever charged.

In 1891 the Democrats passed a new state constitution that disfranchised blacks, and the following year the white-ruled city of New Orleans erected the large, then prominently placed, Liberty Monument obelisk to "commemorate the uprising."

"[Democrats] McEnery and Penny having been elected governor and lieutenant-governor by the white people, were duly installed by this overthrow of carpetbag government, ousting the usurpers, Governor Kellogg (white) and Lieutenant-Governor Antoine (colored).

United States troops took over the state government and reinstated the usurpers but the national election of November 1876 recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state."


This was added in 1974:

"Although the "battle of Liberty Place" and this monument are important parts of the New Orleans history, the sentiments in favor of white supremacy expressed thereon are contrary to the philosophy and beliefs of present-day New Orleans."



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