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We Are Mobed & Beat": Regulator Violence Against Free Blaclc Households In Kentucky' s Bluegrass Region, 18651867 J. Michael Rhyne On the night of June I 2, 1867, a band of armed, mounted, disguised white men staged a raid on a free black community in Lincoln County,on the southern rim of the Bluegrass Region cif Kentucky. The gang moved irc)111 house to house, kicking in doors and taiiii returning veterans of the USCT near train stations or in other public spaces, soinetimes ruthlessly cnforcing the law. Onc " town marshal," for example, was reportedly " very prompt in shooting"any freedman who refused to surrender his weapon." Additionally, regulators used Kentucky law to full advantage, sometimes going so far as to pc) se as legitimate authorities in their efforts to disarni freedmen . One group " visited the houses occupied hy freedmen at Ycllmanville and demanded adinission claiming they were ordered from Louisville" to search the houses and seize any firearms found withiii . Among other weapons, they confiscated an Enfield rifle from : a veteran of the USCT and broke it into pieces. At one point they opened fire on two freedmen, wounding one in the ear. At least ( ine free black resident of Yellmanville identified several members of the band 01 regulators : is men fi·om the Lexington ared, : ind the Freedmen's Bureau quickly determined that these men had no official perinission to conduct such a search and seizure operation. Thc investigating Bureau agent concluded that the men simply " desired tc) have the Negroes defenceless in casc they should attempt further outrages upon them. As illustrated by a report from John J. Evans, Frecdmen's Bureau agent in Mt. Sterling, bands of regulators proved difficult to combat. Evans, nciting that he himself was in great danger, asked for trc,ups to counter " a gang tif whites who as I understand call themselves Regulators."This band, against which civil authorities in Montgomery County WOull take no action, intended that " No Negro () r White Man shall stay or live in that Section of Country unless he be of their class In Rebel). The Bureau earlier had stationed troops iii Mt. Sterling, but Evans had sent them back to Lexiiigton, thinking the situation improved. As sc)(> 11 : is the troops left the area, the band of regulators resurfaced. Given that the Freedman's Bureau in Kentucky never had sufficient troops to establish garrisons everywhere needed, this frustrating cycle characterized the experience (, f 1110St field agents. Bure: iu agents, many of whoin were longtime residents of the C(, unty they served, coinplained constantly to their superiors that they received little or no cooperatic) 11 frcitn civil authorities. Invariably they asked foi· 111(, re tic)(, ps with which tr whoin he succeeded iii finding agricultur211 wc,rk invariably returned in a few weeks " all beaten and bruised by these Regulators." According tc) Grah: im, local autht,ritics provided no help, being either retul·ned C:onkder:ttes or southern syitip, ithizers who had never left the area." While rep 1' the Civil iii Slinping Kentucky' s Collective Consciousness," Filson Club History Quarterly 71 (19971, 27SI 5 Gecirge C. Wright, 11{: Cixil Vit) lence m Kentucky, IR(, 5 It ) 40: 1,ynchin, th. M IMarch 5, 20021. 1 Ronald Ray Alexander, " Central Kentucky during the Civil War, 186 1 1865 " ( Ph.I). diss., University of Kentucky, I9761, 4I 3; Christopher M. P. aine, "' Kentucky will be the last to give upi the Union': Kentucky Politics, I844-1861" APh.D. diss., University of Kentucky, 19981, 7-9. 8 Ira Berlin, Steven F. Miller, Itiseph R Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland, eds., Frecti.. S. (; 1711111111 1(1 1. E. Johnston, Sept. 24, 1866, ser. 1 186, U LI( L, SC(), 1;] 1 FALKY . 25 Affidavit of Mason Thc, miscm, enclosed in 1. W. l' irker to Itilin Ely, Mar . 17, 1 866,se].[ 186, ULRLSCO,BRFAL-KY. 26 |1 (# Ch, Wilite Wi}ine,1. Iflick Meii, 1 2i 3. 27 Fi>, k to I li,ward, Feb. 14, 1866, RaLRC, BRFAL IM75 21, reel 11 18 I. E. Rice ic) Clinic)11 B. Fisk, Feb. Ig, 1 866, ser. 1 186, ULRLSCO, BRFAL-KY. 19 W. 11. liaurne to...


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