Fleming’s paper is available here (PDF) or in Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society, Volume IV (huge PDF).
The public meeting at Montgomery honoring Jefferson Buford’s company of filibusters included the usual sets of speeches from dignitaries and resolutions. A self-proclaimed “Union man” proclaimed himself badly in error and declared in the future for southern radicalism. The resolutions promised that Buford’s fans hoped no violence would come, but if it did Buford’s men ought
to consider themselves as but the vanguard of the mighty host of their brethren of the South, who are ready to march to their relief and stand with them in struggle.
They might well have meant it. Manly posturing seems as common as white supremacy in period sources, but at the time it must have seemed likely that Buford’s men would soon have others taking their example to heart. If the first one worked out fairly enough, why wouldn’t more come?
The next day, Buford’s men attended church, where the pastor floated the notion that
since some ministers at the North had been raising money to equip emigrants with Sharpe’s rifles, they present each man of Buford’s battalion with a more powerful weapon-the Bible.
The wallets came out at once for such a worthy cause, but it transpired that Montgomery did not have enough Bibles to go around. In lieu of securing the Good Book then and there, the organizers handed their money over to Buford in the hopes that he would buy them on the road. The only Bible that appears to have changed hands on the occasion came from the organizer of the fund drive. The Reverend I.T. Tichenor presented “a large Bible” to Buford himself and asked the company to comport themselves according to Scripture, or at least the proslavery passages. Buford in turn expected that right would make might. Songs followed and then everyone got together for a march off to the Messenger, which would steam the strapping lads away to their glory.
Five thousand waited to see Buford’s party off, accompanied by “a band of negro musicians”. They marched to the docks carrying banners emblazoned “THE SUPREMACY OF THE WHITE RACE”. Henry W. Hilliard had a few parting words, delivered whilst standing on a bale of cotton, finishing up with
Providence may change our relations to the inferior race, but the principle is eternal-the supremacy of the white race.
I imagine most people got the message from all that, literate or not. When the Messenger reached Mobile, they also got their promised Bibles.