The Cainhoy Riot of 1876 was a racial violence between white gun clubs and African American militia. However, to much surprise when the war was over more whites lay dead than African Americans. The war erupted during the 1876 gubernatorial campaign.
Rupublicans had scheduled a political meeting to take place on October 16 at the Brick House thirty miles up the Cooper River from Charleston. With the experience of several serious collisions already behind them, African Americans came prepared, and hundreds of militiamen attended the meeting, for reasons that remain a mystery, they stored their guns in nearby buildings.
The group became agitated when Charleston County Democratic gun clubs began to arrive by steamer from the city. Democrats demanded “equal time” to speak, a scuffle ensued, and shots rang out. Soon the African Americans were breaking out their rifles, while the outnumbered whites sent the steamer back to Charleston for reinforcements. They arrived to find the battle over, the combatants dispersed, and seven dead men—six whites and one black man. More than a dozen of whites and blacks lay wounded.
The incident prompted federal action. On October 17, President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation ordering all private armed organizations to disband and ordered more U.S. troops into the state. Nearly twelve hundred federal soldiers would be on duty for the 1876 election, a consequence Republican incumbent Daniel H. Chamberlain had hoped for and Democratic challenger Wade Hampton III had warned against. But soldiers were only a temporary, fix and could not calm all the disturbances or protect all Republicans. In the end, the small victory undercut the legitimacy of the Republican-controlled state government.