Jul 18, 2011

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

(Wikipedia) ... The great railroad strike of 1877 started on July 14 in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in response to the cutting of wages for the second time in a year by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O). Striking workers would not allow any of the stock to roll until this second wage cut was revoked. The governor sent in state militia units to restore train service, but the soldiers refused to use force against the strikers and the governor called for federal troops. Meanwhile, the strike spread to Cumberland, Maryland, stopping freight and passenger traffic.
When Governor Carroll of Maryland directed the 5th and 6th Regiments of the National Guard to put down the strike, citizens from Baltimore attacked the troops as they marched from their armories towards B&O's Camden Station for the train to Cumberland, causing violent street battles between the striking workers and the Maryland militia. When the outnumbered troops of the 6th Regiment fired on an attacking crowd, they killed 10 and wounded 25. The rioters injured several members of the militia, damaged engines and train cars, and burned portions of the train station. On July 21-22, the President sent federal troops and marines to Baltimore to restore order. Continued

Illustrations: 1. "Sixth Regiment Fighting its way through Baltimore," an engraving on front cover of "Harper's Weekly, Journal of Civilization," Vol XXL, No. 1076 2. "Blockade of Engines at Martinsburg, West Virginia," ibid