(October 5, 2012) - On this date in 1862, as many as a dozen Union soldiers were locked up in Louisville and accused of public drunkenness and shooting up a horse-drawn cab.
Trouble started after the Yankees staggered out of “a ball given at a house of disreputable character in the lower part of the city, [and] hailed a hack on Market street near Twentieth,” a disapproving Louisville Daily Democrat reported.
When the driver told the boozy Bluecoats – “twelve or fifteen in number” – that his cab was full, “they pulled their pistols and commenced firing.”
Their aim was apparently alcohol-impaired. The Yankees squeezed off about 50 rounds, “a number of which passed through the hack,” yet none hit the driver or his passengers, the Democrat said.
“The inmates of the hack—two citizens—managed to get out and make their escape. The “terrified driver” also fled in his empty cab.
A nearby cop rounded up some sober soldiers who arrested “ten or twelve of the party” and marched them off to the army barracks. The brawlers “will be tried, and if found guilty will be punished to the full extent of the law,” the paper said.
The Democrat also complained of hearing “several complaints of the outrageous conduct of intoxicated soldiers in the lower part of the city.”
The paper noted that “there is a very stringent order prohibiting the sale of liquor to soldiers, which should be strictly enforced, and then we would not hear of so much complaint of the conduct of soldiers. We hope that the military authorities will see that this order is strictly enforced.”
-- Berry Craig is a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and is the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. The books are being sold to raise money for scholarships at WKCTC. They are available by contacting Craig by phone at (270) 534-3270 or by email at email@example.com.