Southern statute on the books at the time of Whipped Peter's punishment by overseer:
37. Any owner or owners of a slave or slaves, who shall cruelly beat such slave or slaves, by unnecessary and excessive whipping, by withholding proper food and sustenance, by requiring greater labor from such slave or slaves than he or she or they are able to perform, by not affording proper clothing, whereby the health of such slave or slaves may be injured and impaired, every such owner or owners, shall, upon sufficient information being laid before the Grand Jury, be, by said Grand Jury, presented, whereupon it shall be the duty of the Attorney or Solicitor General to prosecute said owner or owners, who on conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine or be imprisoned, or both, at the discretion of the court.
Baton Rouge, LA. April 2, 1863.
Ten days from today I left the plantation. Overseer ARTAYOU CARRIER whipped me. My master was not present. I don't remember the whipping. I was two moths in bed sore from the whipping and my sense began to come - I was sort of crazy. I tried to shoot everybody. They said so, I did not know. I did not know that I had attempted to shoot everyone; they told me so. I burned up all my clothes; but I don't remember that. I never was this way (crazy) before. I don't know what make me come that way (crazy). My master come after I was whipped; saw me in bed; he discharged the overseer. They told me I attempted to shoot my wife the first one; I did not shoot any one; I did not harm any one. My master's Capt. JOHN LYON, cotton planter, on Atchafalya, near Washington, LA. Whipped two months before Christmas. The very works of poor PETER taken as he sat for this picture.[10}