Tag Archives: duel

This Week in History: August 25–31

To Hugh Campbell
St. Louis
August 30th

Mr. Hugh Campbell

St. Louis August 30th 1831
Dear Hugh,
I have just returned from the low­er part of the state after  per­form­ing a jour­ney of 8 days in com­pa­ny with my friend (Mr.  Keyts) as I apprised you in a for­mer let­ter was my inten­tion.  We crossed the Mis­sis­sip­pi riv­er at St. Louis and descend­ed on the  Illi­nois side of the riv­er as far as Kaskask­ia about 70 miles on  account of the roads which are much prefer­able to those on the  Mis­souri side of the riv­er.  We descend­ed to Jack­son a lit­tle  dis­tance from the riv­er say 12 miles over a rolling and some­what  bar­ren coun­try much less desir­able in my esti­ma­tion — than the  upper part of this state.

The coun­ties of Per­ry and Cape Girardeau through which I  passed are set­tled by the Car­olini­ans and Ten­nes­sians who are  com­menc­ing to cul­ti­vate cot­ton with some suc­cess — Per­ry coun­ty  will export about 200 bales this sea­son.  Cape Girardeau more but I could not ascer­tain how much — a good many beef cat­tle too are round for expor­ta­tion but busi­ness is done near­ly exclu­sive­ly on cred­it and mer­chants are oblig­ed to take pro­duce for debts due them -

[Pg. Break] A most shock­ing duel has been fought dur­ing my  absence which you may prob­a­bly already have heard of — both the  par­ties were my acquain­tances — Major Monas Rid­dle U.S. Pay  mas­ter for the troops on the Mis­sis­sip­pi some time in the spring  wrote a pret­ty severe piece in one of the news­pa­pers of this  place against Spencer Pet­tis the mem­ber of Con­gress under the  sig­na­ture of Mis­souri — Pet­tis replied to this while Bid­dle was  gone up the Mis­sis­sip­pi and in his reply he spoke of Bid­dle as  the sup­posed author — on Bid­dle’s’s return he left his name with  the edi­tor avow­ing him­self the author and wrote anoth­er piece  still more severe which brought in answer a most abu­sive  pub­li­ca­tion from Pet­tis — Bid­dle wished to have sat­is­fac­tion but  was so “near sight­ed” that if he chal­lenged Pet­tis and the  dis­tance tak­en such as was usu­al say 10 steps  he could not  pos­si­ble have any chance as he could not rec­og­nize a man at that  dis­tance nor could he see to shoot more than 5 or 10 feet —  Accord­ing­ly one morn­ing he came to the Hotel where Pet­tis board­ed (and where I now board) towards the lat­ter part of July and  waked him out of bed and cow hid­ed him pret­ty severe­ly although  he gave Pet­tis time to arm him­self with a sword (cane) although to no effect — Pet­tis was at this time a can­di­date for Con­gress and his (the Jack­son) Par­ty would not allow him to seek sat­is­fac­tion until the result of the elec­tion was known which ter­mi­nat­ed in 3 or 4000 major­i­ty for Pet­tis — On Mon­day 22 (Augt) Pet­tis  chal­lenged Bid­dle which was accept­ed and the dis­tance five feet,  they fought Thurs­day 25 (inst) the muz­zles of the pis­tols could  have touched — they fired and both pis­tols fired at the same  moment and both com­bat­ants fell mor­tal­ly wound­ed — Pet­tis was  buried on Sun­day and Bid­dle is to be buried today they both  suf­fered very much could speak for 24 hours after they were  wound­ed — Major O’Fal­lon (Col O’Fal­lon’s Broth­er) was sec­ond to  Bid­dle and Lieut Thomas (for­mer­ly US Army) to Pettis.

[Pg. Break] A great deal of excite­ment now pre­vails in St. Louis  — both par­ties being dead jus­tice will be done to their char­ac­ter — Bid­dle was broth­er to the Cashier U.S. Bank in Philadel­phia — he was one of our best cit­i­zens you may have heard me speak of  trav­el­ing with him we the Mis­sis­sip­pi when I lived here- he was  son in law to Mr. Mulan­phy the rich­est man west of the Aghenys —  With Pet­tis I have been fre­quent­ly in con­ver­sa­tion with since my  arrival here, he was a fine young man although not pos­sessed of  the same degree of tal­ent as _______[page ripped] or Bar­ton his  for­mer unsuc­cess­ful rival candidates.

It is yet too soon for any can­di­date to be spo­ken of to  suc­ceed Pet­tis as mem­ber of Con­gress- It is sup­posed Genl Ash­ley  will be brought out — if so I think there is no doubt of his  election

It is some­what sin­gu­lar the sec­ond of Bid­dle (Major O’Fal­lon) is a Jack­son man and Pet­tis (Leiut. Thomas) a Clay Man both  Polit­i­cal­ly opposed to their prin­ci­pals Pet­tis was a native (I am told) of Orange Coun­ty Vir­ginia I will endeav­or to obtain the  pub­li­ca­tions which led to this fatal cat­a­stro­phe and send them to you.

In the course of a week I shall prob­a­bly go up the Mis­souri  in com­pa­ny with Mr. Kyle and remain in the upper part of each  state until some­time in Octo­ber.  Mr. Smith’s arrival will  reg­u­late my move­ments.  Any let­ters you write I shall receive —  My health is very good.

Present my kind­est respects to Mary — and thanks to her for  her very inter­est­ing let­ter which is just to hand — in a few days I intend to do myself the plea­sure of writ­ing her.

Mr. Kyle (in whose room I now write) desires to be (Tartive)  duly remem­bered to you — he would be glad that you and my friend  Bre­ank would each of you write him respect­ing the Rich­mond  Tobac­co Mar­ket — the peo­ple in the upper part of the state raise  a good deal of tobac­co and by exhibit­ing your let­ters to them it  may have a ten­den­cy to encour­age them in rais­ing that arti­cle —  direct Mr. James Keyteville — Mar­i­tan Coun­ty — Mis­souri — Present my respects to my Rich­mond friends in general

Believe me dear Broth­er yours most  affec­tion­ate­ly,                                                                                Robert Campbell

[Pg. Break — top of front cov­er] James Irvine (for­mer­ly  Louisville) is in this place a present I am informed although I  have to yet seen him — I only arrived here last night — Should  any­thing occur wor­thy your atten­tion I may pos­si­bly write you ere long — this coun­try is a lit­tle  sick­ly at present but after  next month we may expect it healthy again-

[Pg. Break — bot­tom front cov­er] Mr. Kyle’s dwelling House is  fin­ished the rent — $400 Mr. Sproule has prob­a­bly writ­ten Mr.  Kyle on the sub­ject I have not seen him since my return and as it rains dread­ful­ly now I shall not be able to see him today — when I last wrote you Mr. Sproule sup­posed the next would have been  800 — but he has since ascer­tained $480 — This store House will  not be com­plet­ed until 1st Novem­ber the work­man told me but I  pre­sume W. Kyle will have lit­tle dif­fi­cul­ty in rent­ing a house —  There are five stores wind­ing up their busi­ness at present.