From the Richmond Enquirer, Saturday, 4/25/1863 (reprinted in Abingdon Virginian, 5/1/1863, p. 3, c. 1)

An Exciting Shooting Affair.
Robert E. Dixon, Clerk of the House of Representatives, Killed.

An affair occurred on yesterday afternoon about two o’clock, on the corner of Bank and Tenth streets, which resulted in the death of Robt. E. Dixon, Clerk of the Confederate House of Representatives, who was shot through the heart by Robert T. Ford, until recently journalizing clerk for the same body, under Dixon. From the statements of witnesses, and persons intimate with the parties and cognizant of the main facts connected with the affair, we present the following particulars.:

Mr. Dixon was a citizen of Columbus, Ga., where his family, consisting of a wife and three children, reside. His age was about thirty-one years. In person, he was some five feet four inches in height, of muscular frame, dark complexion, with black hair and whiskers. In manners he was polite, and in habits somewhat retired, though social and convivial among friends. Upon the meeting of the regular Congress of the Confederate States, at its opening session, in December, 1861, Mr. Dixon was elected Clerk of the House, and having the appointment of his assistants, he selected as Journalizing Clerk, Robert T. Ford, a native of Kentucky.

Mr. Ford is a young man of scarcely more than twenty-seven years of age. He has a wife, now residing in Amelia county, Virginia, and in no condition to receive the news of this unfortunate occurrence in personnel. Mr. Ford is slender, some five feet eight inches in height, of light complexion, light curly hair, and wears a light moustache. He rarely appeared in company, and seemed to pay attention to his duties.

Some recent delays in the writing up of the journals, it appears, caused Mr. Dixon to make some complaint about them, and on Wednesday evening on Thursday morning he discharged him from the post. During the day, on Thursday, a letter was received by Mr. Dixon, at his desk in the House, which proved to be from Ford, in which he gave a review of his past conduct as journalizing clerk, and closed by intimating that if he were no reinstated by five o’clock that evening, Dixon might expect an attack on sight.

He was not reinstated, and the presumption is, Mr. Dixon prepared himself for the emergency. Early yesterday afternoon Mr. Dixon, while walking down Main street, understood that Ford was looking for him in the vicinity, and taking the advice of friends, he went into a store for the purpose of avoiding him. After remaining some time, he went out, passed up Tenth street, and upon reaching the south-east corner, he encountered Ford, who was approaching on the north side of Bank street. Witnesses are not positive as to who drew the first weapon. Ford was seen to draw a large Navy revolver, six shooter, and Dixon was seen with a Derringer. – Both were firing before any fixed attention could be bestowed upon wither one of the other. Ford fired five shots, and Dixon one; and as Dixon was in the act of aiming a second Derringer, he leaned forward, ran partly across the street, towards Ford, and fell upon his face, dead.

Ford was arrested on the spot by Detective Goodrich, who had witnessed part of the affair, but was unable to put a stop to it in time, the shooting having been performed too rapidly and desperately to admit of immediate physical interference. Dixon was taken up and conveyed into the passage of an adjacent house, where his wound was examined. The bullet had entered the right breast, about three inches below the nipple, in a diagonal direction to the left, piercing the heart in its course.

Ford was immediately after lodged in prison by High Constable Freeman. A jury of inquest was summoned and sworn, together with witnesses, upon the view of the body, at half past three o’clock, after which the investigation was postponed until five o’clock, when it was conducted at the establishment of Belvin & Atkinson, on 12th street, whither the body had been conveyed to be prepared for the grave.

Facts, substantially the same as the above, were there elicited.

It is stated that during the firing by the above partied, a bullet from Ford’s pistol traversed Tenth, crossed Main street, and struck a soldier in the groin, who was walking along the south-side of the street. He was hastily placed in a carriage by comrades and taken away, before any facts as to his name or the exact character of his wound could be ascertained. – Richmond Enquirer, April 25th.

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