From the Richmond Dispatch, 3/10/1866, p. 1, c. 3
THE DISTURBANCE AT CHIMBORAZO ON FRIDAY NIGHT. – Judge McEntee’s Court yesterday morning was crowded with anxious spectators, who were eager to hear the evidence in the case of the United States vs. James O’Keefe and Leonidas R. Peay. The prisoners were arrested by the police at the request of Lieutenant Merrill, of the Freedmen’s Court, and were charged with unlawfully assembling, with twenty others, more or less, disturbing the peace, and assaulting, bruising, and beating Robert Green, a negro.
Green, the injured party, said that on Thursday night he was walking towards his home, at the corner of Twenty-ninth and Leigh streets, and when only a short distance from his destination, he was attacked by two men. One of the men struck him on the head with a piece of fence rail, and the other, who he positively identified as James O’Keefe, struck him with a short club. The two men who struck him were accompanied by about fifteen others, and when Green, in a most prudent manner, ran off, he was followed to his house by the whole party. He got safely in doors, and the crowd then began to throw rocks at the windows, the back door being also battered down by them. There was great noise and confusion in the crowd, and some were inclined to enter the house, but were persuaded by others not to do so. Sometime after the crowd had left, the prisoner, Peay, came to Green and asked him whether his sister had been hurt, and also if he had been hurt himself. Green showed Peay the bruises he had received, and Peay said that if he had known it was Green they were beating he would not have allowed them to do it. Peay was not seen with the mob.
Another negro, named Charles Davis, gave substantially the same testimony, and, in addition, swore positively that he saw O’Keefe strike Green’s door with a piece of wood.
Several witnesses were then heard to prove an alibi for the prisoner, O’Keefe, but the evidence was so contradictory that nothing could be made of it. Peay, against whom there was no evidence whatever, was then discharged, and O’Keefe was bailed in the sum of five hundred dollars to appear before a military commission when called on.
There seems now to be but little doubt that the riotous conduct of the young men and boys in the neighborhood of Chimborazo was the principal cause of the riot of Friday night. They have not sense enough to see that they are treating free negroes in a manner which would not have been permitted towards slaves. They get themselves into trouble, and leave their friends to get them out of it, forgetting that it ought to be our pride to show that we are the friends of the negro so long as he is peaceful, industrious, and well-behaved.