Shovel Manufacturer Does His Part

To Aid Secession’s Cause

Billy Club

"Semper Paratus"

You can read a good account of the pro-Union attack on the Bridgeport Advertiser & Farmer at the Civil War Daily Gazette. The northern loyalists found some interesting items while ransacking the newspapers offices.

From The New-York Times August 26, 1861:


BRIDGEPORT, Sunday, Aug. 25.

In cleaning out the Farmer and Advertiser office last night, a United States mail-bag was found filled with papers addressed to leading Secessionists in Alabama, Georgia, and other Southern States, also some two hundred wooden billies, turned and furnished with strings for the wrists. These clubs were made from shovelhandles, and were probably furnished by a secession shovel-manufacturer in Bridgeport. Some curious letters were also discovered, exposing the treason of politicians in Hartford and elsewhere. One of the editors of the Farmer has gone to New-Haven, threatening to issue his paper from the Register office to-morrow.

At first I assumed that since the clubs were mentioned along with the southern-addressed letters they were intended for secessionists down South. The southern rebels could use them to suppress whites with unionist sentiments or to help control the slave population. However, considering what happened to the Advertiser & Farmer, maybe they were intended to help the pro-secession people in Bridgeport protect themselves.

The Barnum Museum reproduces part of a May 22, 1861 editorial which says, “The truth is that it is the South that is resisting a rebellion; one initiated by the Abolitionists and Republicans of the North!” The Republicans via Lincoln are plotting to pack the Supreme Court to overrule Dred Scott.

While at the museum you can check out its Virtual Exhibits, including one on Bridgeport in the Civil War.

Bridgeport, Connecticut  c1857

Shovel Manufacturer's home - Bridgeport, Connecticut c1857 (LOC - LC-DIG-pga-03337)

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One Response to Shovel Manufacturer Does His Part

  1. Eric says:

    Wow! What a great find! I somehow missed this tidbit. I wonder what the real story is. If there was a Republican paper in Bridgeport, it might give a heavily biased “other side.”

    Maybe Bridgeport has a historical society who already know.


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