Back to top

Second District commander David Sickles confirms the convictions in the Phillis Ruffin beating case.

HD_NCWHip67_09HW012.jpg
08/17/1867

On February 14, 1867, in the north-eastern North Carolina hamlet of Harmon's Crossroads in Bertie County, a crowd of white male residents had dragged a young African-American woman in her twenties named Phillis Ruffin out of the school she was attending, took her into the woods, stripped her, and beat her unmercifully for some minutes.  Her offense was that she had resisted blows from a white girl during an argument several days before.  The case drew increasing notoriety across the United States and resulted in General David Sickles, the Second District's military commander, facilitating a military trial of ten of the men in the mob that resulted in sentences at hard labor for seven of them. On this day, Sickles upheld the sentences with only the complaint that they were too lenient, and ordered that incarceration be carried out immediately at the the military prison in Plymouth.  (By John Osborne)  

Source Citation: 

"The Outrage in North Carolina," Harper's Weekly Magazine, September 14, 1867, p. 559.
"Atlantic Intelligence - Punishment for Whipping a Freed Woman," Sacremento (California) Daily Union, September 12, 1867, p. 2.