The vigilante victory

At around eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning on the day after the vigilantes had captured so many law and order forces and their arms and ammunition, and with no more apprehension over the forces opposing the Committee of Vigilance and everything in the city quiet, the prisoners who had been held under guard all night at Fort Gunnybags were formed into a line and told they would be released. Before they were let go however they were warned that should they be found acting under arms against the committee or the good order of the community as a whole they should expect such punishment as the committee might choose to inflict. With the exception of Maloney, Ashe, Terry and five or six others, they were marched out in groups of four along Sacramento Street amid files of armed vigilante soldiers that extended to Battery Street where the prisoners were discharged.

1st California Guards

David S. Terry, the state Supreme Court justice who had knifed Sterling A. Hopkins in the neck, remained in the custody of the vigilantes. Terry, by his act of violence, had not only managed to get himself into serious difficulty but also involved many of his friends and associates in a most disagreeable predicament and to some extent in disgrace. He had completely ruined the law on order cause, and not just because it now represented the rowdier element in town, but also in so far as it represented the better part who believed that the small infraction of the law involved with the existence of the vigilance committee could not be excused by any good it would accomplish. While true that many of that latter class had already withdrawn in disgust from participation in the law and order party those that were left were now obligated to suffer the humiliation that was the natural reaction to Terry’s action.

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