A Ku Klux Raid, and What Came of It
The following data is extracted from Trinity College Historical Society .
It was the summer of 1870, a year memorable in the political and social history of North Carolina. Among the notable events of the year may be mentioned the culmination and decline of the Ku Klux organization, the grave blunders of Governor Holden in the matter of the Kirk war, and the election of a Democratic legislature.
The original incident, the germ of those now to be related, occurred in a section of the State from twenty to thirty miles southwest of Raleigh known as Buckhorn, a name borne by three adjacent townships in three adjacent counties, viz: Chatham, Wake and Harnett.
From Raleigh a great turnpike road leads southwest for fifteen miles to the village of Holly Springs; thence westward through Buckhorn in Wake into Buckhorn in Chatham to Avent's Ferry on the Cape Fear river, leaving Buckhorn in Harnett to the South. This road is of great historic interest as being the scene of the last war movement of Gen. Sherman's Army. Along this road from Raleigh to Avent's Ferry Gen. Sherman threw out the left wing of his army for the purpose of reaching Charlotte ahead of Gen. Johnston's army, which was following in its retreat the line of the North Carolina Railroad. When the van of the army had reached Avent's Ferry, and a pontoon bridge was being thrown across the river, the whole moving mass of army corps along the entire length of the road came to a halt, went into camp, and remained two weeks as guests of this usually quiet section of the State. The devastation wrought was all that could be expected from a hostile army.
I hail from Buckhorn in Harnett. At the time above mentioned (the summer of 1870) I had returned home from Trinity College to spend the vacation at the close of my freshman year. On Friday night, July 1st, about eleven o'clock, a squad of mounted men in rapid movement passed along the road to the northwest. In the faint moonlight the men seemed to be in disguise, and we suspected that some of the Ku Klux were on a raid. The next day the tidings swiftly spread that Wyatt Prince, a Negro living just over the Chatham line, had been attacked by the Ku Klux and had been seriously if not mortally wounded by pistol shots. A more detailed account was that at about midnight a squad of disguised men had surrounded Prince's log cabin, had demanded entrance, and, having been denied, they were proceeding to batter down the door, when Prince leaped out through an unguarded window. His retreat was discovered in time for the attacking party to give him several farewell shots, three of which took effect, making serious wounds. No further pursuit being offered, Prince escaped to the spring branch, in the cool waters of which he bathed his wounds till morning.
Source: Trinity College Historical Society