Duel of 1882

At the end of August 1882, John H. Pugh engaged in a duel with a Walter Suthon in New Iberia.

What prompted it remains a mystery: often, duels were a means of saving face. What we do know is that David knew about it, contacted a New Iberia doctor to "officiate" over the duel, and that David paid the officiating fee of $25.00 to Dr. Burgess.

Following is the text of the document that describes the rules for the duel that took place in New Iberia, Louisiana August 31st 18821. The name of the man John met in the duel may have been Suthon; it is difficult to discern (images of the pages are below).

"In view of the meetings to take place tomorrow morning August 31st between Mr. John H. Pugh and Walter J. Suthon, it is agreed as follows:

1. That both parties leave new Iberia not later than six in half o'clock a.m. and proceed at once to the ground already selected; it is on the Wilson place about five miles below New Iberia.

2. Immediately on meeting in the field the distance shall be measured and the stations marked.

3. Choice of positions shall then be tossed for.

4. The right to give the word shall then be tossed for.

5. The principles shall then take their stations as already marked, but without weapons in their hands, facing each other.

6. The party who is to give the word shall then proceed to explain how the word is to be given, it is the “Gentlemen are you ready” and if there is no response, he continues “Fire one- two- three” with about a second’s interval between each word from “fire” to “three”.

7. The principles shall not fire before the word “one” nor after the word “three”.

8. The weapons shall then be handed the principles, and they shall be held with the muzzles pointed to the ground until after the word “fire”.

Signed in duplicate at New Iberia, Louisiana this 30th of August, 1882

The document is signed by S. Williams H. Collins for John H. Pugh and two signatures for Walter J. Suthon.

1Another duel may have influenced John's & Sullivan's decision to duel: June 7, 1882: Louisiana State Treasurer Edward A. Burke was seriously wounded by C. Harrison Parker, the editor of the New Orleans Daily Picayune, in a duel with pistols. (Wikipedia)

Louis A. Burgess, who agreed to officiate the duel and who acknowledged receiving David's payment, was a doctor who graduated from Tulane and lived in New Iberia, La.