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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908

 they would aid in the passage of the relief legislation now pending in
 Congress, has added to the difficulty of securing information.
   The issue has evidently become racial.  The colored detectives would
 be confronted frequently in the smaller towns where these men are
 living with a demand from colored men for information as to their
   We have located over 130 of these ex-soldiers, and have been in
 30 States in quest of information.  The appendices give statements
 as to the results obtained.  They indicate a general knowledge on the
 part of the ex-soldiers that the raid came from inside the fort and
 that the soldiers of Company B were the guilty parties.
   We earnestly urge that we be permitted to continue the investiga-
 tion.  Several detectives are still in the field, and within the coming
 week a number of affidavits will be forthcoming.
   With some repetition of matter appearing later in the report, Boyd
 Conyers's story is given here in narrative form:
   "The rumors of trouble over the assignment of colored troops to
 Brownsville were circulated before the troops left Fort Niobrara, and
 preparations were made among the men to get even with the crack-
ers, so the whites were called.  Some cartridges were held out at range
 practice, but more en route to Brownsville.   Pretense was made that
 they were given away at stations along the road.  Some were, but a
large number were seecreted.
   "At inspection in Brownsville Lieutenant Lawrason, Company B,
 threatened punishment to the men who were short of ammunition, but
nothing was done about it, and the deficiency was supplied.
   "The friction with citizens of Brownsville began at once.  In Boyd
Conyers's language, 'Whisky made all the trouble.  If we hadn't been
drinking we wouldn't have had the nerve to shoot up the town.'
  "It was agreed at a gathering of a few men in the saloon of Alli-
son, the colored ex-soldier, on the afternoon of August 13, 1906, that
the raid should take place that night at 12 o'clock.  It seems to have
been delayed a few minutes to let Tamayo, the Mexican scavenger, get
away from the B barracks.
   "John Holloman, the money lender of Company B, was the chief
conspirator and leader in the raid and custodian and distributor of
the cartridges, but his plans could not have been carried out had not
Sergt. George Jackson, of Company B, in charge of the keys to the gun
racks in B barracks, and Sergeant Reid, in command of the guards, co-
operated both before and after the raid.
  "The four men who led the raid were John Holloman, John Brown,
Boyd Conyers, and Carolina de Saussure, all of Company B (and prob-
ably R. L. Collier, of Company C).  Holloman was in barracks, Brown
in the bake shop, Conyers and De Saussure in the guardhouse. The
two latter were in the same detail and had been relieved at about 11
o'clock, De Saussure on the post at the guardhouse, and Conyers on
No. 2, around the barracks and facing the town.  Holloman got the
party together.  Conyers and De Saussure slept on the same bunk in
the guardhouse, claiming that they wanted to get under the mosquito
net, and they had the trick of taking their guns into the bunk instead
of placing them in the open rack, on the excuse that they didn't rust
so badly under cover, but really so the absence of the guns from the
open guardhouse rack would not attract attention, and their own
absence would be ascribed to a visit to the closet, which was back of
the guardhouse.    These two men  slipped out the rear door of the
guardhouse, passed through the sally port, and joined Holloman and
  "The party crossed the wall of the fort down near the end of A
barracks, went up the roadway to the entrance to the Cowen alley,
where the signal shots were fired.  These shots were immediately tal-
lied onto by the alarm shots of Joseph B. Howard, guard on No. 2, and
formed the series testified to by Mrs. Katie E. Leahy, of Brownsville.
Her testimony is further borne out by the statement that not over
thirty seconds elapsed before a number of the men of Company B
swarmed out on the upper gallery and opened a fusillade on the town.
  "It is an absolute certainty that it would have been impossible for
Sergeant Jackson to have opened the gun racks, for the men to have
assembled, secured their guns, loaded them, gone out to the gallery,
and started firing all after the first shot was fired, all aroused, as
they testified unanimously, from sound slumber in less than two minutes
in the confusion of a dark barrack room.  Beyond the possibility of
a doubt the racks had been opened and the inside conspirators were
ready to pour out on the signal shots.  The testimony is ample that
there were scarcely twenty seconds between the last of the signal shots
and the first general volley from B barracks.


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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908



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