The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 34
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of considerable shrewdness calculated to lower the martial spirit
on both sides. In spite of such precautions, several incidents
occurred which came dangerously near to provoking hostilities.
Within the State House, both groups were kept on edge by the
flow of taunts and insults which passed from one to the other.47
A threat by Davis' soldiers to shoot Coke supporters who used
the stairway to the second floor brought excitement, at one point,
to fever pitch.48 On another occasion, a clash was barely averted
when both sides maneuvered to gain control of the cannon lo-
cated on the State House grounds. The greatest threat to peace,
however, arose as a result of the Coke force's attempt to seize
the state arsenal. The mayor of Austin, accompanied by the
Travis Rifles, marched to the arsenal and demanded the sur-
render of all arms stored there. While these negotiations were
under way, a squad of Davis' negro militiamen arrived and cap-
tured the mayor. The Travis Rifles, thereupon, prepared to open
fire on the Negroes, but this was prevented by an earnest appeal
from the mayor himself, who then lectured his captors, telling
them that if they were not gone from the arsenal within sixty
minutes, they would "all be dead men."49 The militiamen held
a hasty council of war, then answered that they would hold the
arsenal or "die on the door sill."o They later reconsidered, how-
ever, and evacuated the building. Amidst such confusion and
tension, the avoidance of open conflict was an amazing accom-
plishment which was achieved only because neither side really
wanted a collision. Davis, on the one hand, was justifiably alarmed
at the prospect of a race war; the Democrats, on the other, feared
that an outbreak of violence might cause Grant to change his
mind and sanction Federal intervention.
On the afternoon of January i6, a delegation from the Four-
teenth Legislature conferred with Davis in his basement head-
quarters, and as a direct result of this meeting, a truce was ar-
ranged. The Radical leader agreed to disband his troops, and
47Daily Democratic Statesman (Austin), January 16, 1874.
48sT. B. Wheeler, "Reminiscences of Reconstruction in Texas," The Quarterly of
the Texas State Historical Association, XI, 56-65.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/47/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.