Joint Committee on Reconstruction
Colonel E. Whittlesey
Assassination in Goldsborough

Yesterday the citizens in the neighborhood of Goldsborough did a cold-blooded and fiendish deed. It seems that there have been a number of complaints made to Captain Glavis by citizens of Wayne, Green, and Sampson counties of numerous robberies and acts of violence by a band of late rebel soldiers, who are inhabitants of Wayne county. They are said to be headed by one Frank Coley, the son of a rich planter living near Goldsborough. Coley is said to have shot a freedman dead. The evidence against him is very clear, the murdered freedman's own brother swearing to Coley's doing the deed. Captain Glavis determined to cause the arrest of said Coley. Accordingly he detailed as many men as possible to do the work. There are only eight soldiers on duty in the town. These are intended for the whole number of counties. Most of them are kept on duty in Goldsborough in guarding quartermaster's stores. Two men were as many as could be detailed. There lived in the town a young man named Andrew Wilson, who was formerly a Union scout. He was well acquainted with the country and the parties to be arrested. His services were accordingly secured to assist the soldiers. They received their orders and proceeded on their journey. Early Wednesday morning, Wilson and the two soldiers traced one of the gang to a house in the suburbs of Goldsborough, surrounded it, and demanded an entrance. It was refused, and they forced themselves in. They asked for a rebel named Peacock, and were told he was not there. They searched the house, however, and soon found him. He was brought out and recognized by Wilson. They told him he was arrested by authority of the United States. He consented to go along; but, after going a short distance, he tried to disarm Wilson, and, failing in that, he ran back to the house. He was ordered to halt several times, and failing to do so, was shot at and wounded. Wilson and the two soldiers saw it was impossible for them to make any arrests, so they returned. At one point near the town the soldiers separated from Wilson. They had not gone long when a squad of mounted men, composed of Coley's friends, came dashing down the road, and met Wilson at the end of the town. One of the squad asked him for his arms, which he gave up. Some one of the twenty-five unreconstructed then shot him. The first ball entered his chest, and he ran into a store near by. He was pursued and shot several times, and died in a few moments. The man whose store he ran into refused to allow him to remain, but threw him into the street to die. After the murder of Wilson the mounted party gave a yell and rode off. Threats have been made against Captain Glavis's life, and he does not know at what moment he may be shot or his house burned over his head.

This is a bad state of affairs, and General Ruger is surely to blame. If he has troops enough at his command he should send a sufficient number to protect the government's servants; if not, then he should appeal to the President or Secretary of War. This last act of the North Carolina unreconstructed should go to the Reconstruction Committee in Congress.


I do not know the above correspondent, but, in the main, his views and statements, are correct. His condemnation of General Ruger is hasty and too sweeping. A force has been sent to Goldsborough to arrest the parties named.

Colonel and Assistant Commissioner, North Carolina.


Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction of the First Session Thirty-Ninth Congress, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1866, Virginia - North Carolina - South Carolina, pages 196-197.