Affidavit of the Wife of a Discharged Georgia Black Soldier

[Griffin, Ga.]  Sept. 25, 1866

Rhoda Ann Childs came into this office and made the following statement:

“Myself and husband were under contract with Mrs. Amelia Childs of Henry County, and worked from Jan. 1, 1866, until the crops were laid by, or in other words until the main work of the year was done, without difficulty.  Then, (the fashion being prevalent among the planters) we were called upon one night, and my husband was demanded; I Said he was not there.  They then asked where he was.  I Said he was gone to the water mellon patch.  They then Seized me and took me Some distance from the house, where they ‘bucked’ me down across a log, Stripped my clothes over my head, one of the men Standing astride my neck, and beat me across my posterior, two men holding my legs.  In this manner I was beaten until they were tired.  Then they turned me parallel with the log, laying my neck on a limb which projected from the log, and one man placing his foot upon my neck, beat me again on my hip and thigh.  Then I was thrown upon the ground on my back, one of the men Stood upon my breast, while two others took hold of my feet and stretched My limbs as far apart as they could, while the man Standing upon my breast applied the Strap to my private parts until fatigued into stopping, and I was more dead than alive.  Then a man, Supposed to be an ex-confederate Soldier, as he was on crutches, fell upon me and ravished me.  During the whipping one of the men ran his pistol into me, and Said he had a hell of a mind to pull the trigger, and Swore they ought to Shoot me, as my husband had been in the ‘God damned Yankee Army,’ and Swore they meant to kill every black Son-of-a-bitch they could find that had ever fought against them.  They then went back to the house, Seized my two daughters and beat them, demanding their father's pistol, and upon failure to get that, they entered the house and took Such articles of clothing as Suited their fancy, and decamped.  There were concerned in this affair eight men, none of which could be recognized for certain.

Roda Ann X Childs

Affidavit of Roda Ann Childs, 25 Sept. 1866, vol. 270, pp. 41–42, Register of Complaints, series 893, Griffin GA Subassistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives.

Published in The Black Military Experience, pp. 807–8, in Free at Last, pp. 537–38, and in Freedom's Soldiers, pp. 172–74.