1898 Coup D'état

Five days before the massacre, Mayor Silas P. Wright and the Wilmington City Council anticipated a violent and turbulent election day. Hoping to lessen the likelihood of violence, the city passed an ordinance that forbade anyone “to sell or give away in the city of Wilmington, or within one mile of same any Whiskey, Wine, Beer, ale or brandy, or other intoxicating drinks between the Hours of 11:30pm Saturday November 5, 1898 and November 10th at 6 o’clock pm.” Unfortunately, the ordinance was made in vain. Although the election occurred largely without incident, violence broke out on the 10th after the mob burned Love and Charity Hall. During the outbreak, Waddell and other Democrats forced Mayor Wright to convene a city council meeting and demanded his resignation. In that meeting several city council members, Mayor Wright, and Chief of Police John R. Melton resigned. Prominent Democrats replaced them and “elected” Waddell as Mayor. Numerous witnesses described the events of the coup in the 1899 Contested Election Case of Oliver H. Dockery vs. John D. Bellamy.

The City Council minutes clearly show this sudden turn of events. Do these actions represent a coup d’etat [terms]? According to the minutes, what happened to the city police force in the days that followed? Do the Wilmington Light Infantry minutes of 1905 shed any further light on the question?