The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936 Page: 47
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Diary of a Confederate Congressman, 1862-1863
of a spontaneous outburst in answer to the unappeased appetites
of nature. The Governor of Virginia, & several members of
Congress, & the Mayor of the City made speeches. The military
were ordered out & when the men were notified that if they did
not disperse, they would in five minutes be fired on, they soon
After inquiring into the facts as far as I could, I think the
whole affair was gotten up by some few bad men who from un-
patriotic motives wanted to get up a story which would encour-
age our enemies to prosecute the war against us with more bit-
terness. These men found perhaps a few women who may have
been suffering & used them as instruments to get up this diffi-
culty. Although the necessities of life are very scarce and very
high in Richmond, yet I cannot conclude from anything I have
seen or heard that anything like a large number of people are
suffering for something. Some actual suffering there always is
& always will be in a large city. I hope the ringleaders of this
affair will be found, arrested, & punished."
In the House the Exemption bill was taken up. The bill of
the House Military Committee was adopted as a substitute of the
bill from the Senate. I voted for it, not that I approve it en-
tirely, but because 1 like it better than the Senate bill or the law
now in force. If it is rejected & the Senate bill, too, the old
law will be left in force.
A bill was reported from the Mil. Committee repealing all laws
"Hunger Riot. "Richmond had trouble without and trouble within.
Provisions had gotten so scarce in the city that the poor could scarcely
get food. Bread was scarce and high, meat was a luxury, and coffee
and sugar there were none. About five hundred women of rough ap-
pearance and half-grown boys, armed with knives and hatchets, congre-
gated at Fifteenth and Main Streets April 2d. They soon became wild
with excitement and began to break into stores and take bread, meat,
and whatever they could lay their hands on. They marched to the Con-
federate Comissary on Gary Street and soon entered that and took
what they wanted. Mayor Mayo read them the riot act and ordered
them to disperse, but they paid no attention to him. President Davis
spoke to them from a wagon, and while he was speaking some one threw
a loaf of bread at him. He took the loaf and holding it up said, "You
see bread is so plentiful that you throw it away." Governor Letcher
also spoke to them on Franklin street urging them to disband. They
gave no heed and continued plundering the streets at will. . . . At
length the Public Guard . . . was called out, and not until they
were ordered to fire did the crowd disperse and an end put to the "Bread
Riot," as it was called. (Christian: Richmond, Her Past and Her
Present, pp. 240-241.)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936, periodical, 1936; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/m1/55/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.