In the last installment, we went into the rise of the white vigilante group the White League as well as carpetbagger and Union veteran Marshall Twitchell establishing himself in Red River Parish, Louisiana. Late August 1874 would see the parish become the site of the Coushatta Massacre.
The 1874 Coushatta Massacre
Thomas Floyd was a Black Union veteran who was elected to the Louisiana Senate. He served as a Republican, making him the perfect target for the White League. On August 25, he was found murdered in Brownsville, Ouachita Parish.
Next, the White League arrests twenty freed Blacks and some white Republicans. They are charged with inciting a “negro rebellion.” Twitchell was at a Republican state convention in New Orleans at the time. At the same time, some two hundred armed whites arrived in Coushatta and targeted Blacks and Republicans. The White League held their prisoners hostage for a couple of days.
The hostages were forced to sign a statement vowing to leave the state. As the officials fled, six of them were killed by Dick Coleman and his group. Coleman also led the White League in hanging two of the captured Black officials. A third Black man, Levin Allen, was tortured before being burned alive.
About twenty-five men are arrested for their part in the massacre. As expected, none of them went to trial because of a lack of evidence. The Coushatta Massacre ramped up the White League’s violence in the state. There would be a federal push to keep the Republican governor in power and bring Red River Parish underfoot. In the end, Democrats took power in legislature rendering the governor ineffective.
Twitchell would return to Red River Parish two years after the Coushatta Massacre. He was shot six times by an unknown assailant yet managed to survive. As a result of the shooting, he had his arms amputated. His brother-in-law, George King died in the shooting.
Two people were suspected of the shooting: Dick Coleman and James G. Marston, a part of the Marston side of the Fowler dynasty involved in Louisiana politics into the 2000s.