Known as the Charleston Riot, it left nine dead and twelve wounded in Charleston, Illinois on March 28th 1864. The riot pitted Union soldiers and local Republicans against local Copperheads. The press felt that a Peace Democrat; another term for Copperheads, Nelson Wells was the instigator, but most think it was spontaneous and helped along by some heavy drinking. The Riot didn’t last long but it drove the Copperheads out of town. Two of the dead, Nelson Wells and John Cooper were part of the Peace democrats.
Union troops were moved by train from Mattoon, Illinois to calm Charleston. There were 15 prisoners held for trail first in Springfield, Illinois, and then moved to Fort Delaware. President Abraham Lincoln ordered their release November 4th 1864. There were 12 members of the Copperheads who were indicted for murder, but were not captured.
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