Springfield, Massachusetts, by Clarence E. Blake, Ph.D., continued.
Hampden Coffee House
justice on the side of the "rebels." During the war the resources of the people had been taxed to their utmost. At its close the money was nearly worthless. Many of the soldiers, who had risked everything for independence, returned home under heavy indebtedness to their richer neighbors who had not marched to the battle-field. In some cases these more fortunate stay-at-homes were Tories. The poor fellows were helpless and desperate. Farms and other property were holden for debt.
With so large a number in distress, the spirit of lawlessness naturally developed Armed bodies stopped the courts in several places, in order that judgments might not be rendered against them. This stopping of the courts was all which was attempted at first. To seize control of the machinery of government or to pillage property beyond immediate need was not in the plan. But as the movement spread it seemed necessary to the insurgents to possess themselves of the Arsenal at Springfield, and a force of two thousand men attempted this. Gen. Shepard was defending the Arsenal with only a few hundred militia, many of whom felt that there was much real justice in the cause of the "rebels." A discharge of grape from one of Shepard's cannon killed four of the insurgents, and turned the whole column to flight without a shot in
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