The Coushatta Massacre (1874) was the result of an attack by the White League, a paramilitary organization composed of white Southern Democrats, on Republican officeholders and freedmen in Coushatta, the parish seat of Red River Parish, Louisiana. They assassinated six white Republicans and five to 20 freedmen who were witnesses.
In August 1874, Thomas Floyd, an African American Union army veteran, was serving in the Louisiana State Senate as a Republican. On the night of August 25, he was murdered in Brownsville. When tensions arose, members of the White League arrested several White Republicans and twenty freedmen, accusing them of plotting a “negro rebellion.”Among the White Republicans were Sheriff Edgerton, William Howell (the parish attorney), Robert Dewees (De Soto Parish tax collector), Homer Twitchell (a tax collector and Marshall Twitchell’s brother), and three brothers-in-law, Monroe Willis, and Clark Holland; Marshall Twitchell was in New Orleans at a Republican state convention. Within two days, hundreds of armed Whites arrived in Coushatta.
After holding them hostage for several days, the captors forced the officeholders to sign a statement saying they would immediately leave Louisiana. While traveling out of the region, six White captives were murdered by a band of armed whites, led by Dick Coleman.
Elsewhere in Coushatta and nearby, Whites attacked numerous African Americans, resulting in at least four deaths. Levin Allen had his arms and legs broken before being burned alive. Louis Johnson and Paul Williams, two of the freedmen arrested by the White League, were hanged by Dick Coleman and his mob. Although twenty-five men were arrested for the massacre, because of lack of evidence, none were brought to trial.