It is more an accident than anything else that
The planned faceoff between then-Senator Jesse Bright and prominent
Bright and Marshall had clashed repeatedly. Bright owned slaves while
They had one thing in common besides ambitions--both were hotheads. Once, at a trial in
On the other side, Bright reportedly knocked down the doorkeeper of the House of Representatives for what was termed "an inconsiderable offense." Bright also used invective freely. On April 27, 1857, he wrote to R.M. T. Hunter, chairman of a House committee, demanding the Hunter fire the committee's clerk named Henrick, for a letter the latter had published in the
The personal animosity led
The dispute spiraled into a duel challenge. The two agreed to meet on an island in the Ohio River, placing it in
The weapons of choice were rifles at 50 paces. Bright and his group stayed at the Gault House while Marshall and his contingent at the Louisville Hotel. Marshall was so determined to shoot it out with Bright that when police came to arrest him, Marshall said his brother, the Rev. Samuel Marshall, who came to stop the duel, was Joseph Marshall and the police led the minister away. The attorney was later corralled and their friends negotiated a settlement.
Bright never got that close to a shoot-out again. But Jesse wasn't through. He got into a fight in a courtroom in 1853 and was fined along with others; an incident reported by author Francis Lieber an article entitled “The Character of a Gentleman.” And on Sept. 16, 1853, Bright wrote to his friend and financial backer W.W. Corcoran, apparently preparing for trouble."I am unwilling to trouble you about my domestic affairs," Bright wrote "for I have already been the reception of favors of your hands that must necessarily go unrequited through life; yet I will venture to enquire whether you know of a Duelling [pistol] that I can get and suitable for a humble disciple of the immortal 'Franklin Pierce.' I hope you may have one to suit me, but if not, pardon me for asking you to engage one for me. I must have one now."