The Railroad War

This July 21, 1877 article from the Pittsburgh Daily Post details the extent of the railroad strike and the government's efforts to suppress it through military force.

The Pennsylvania Tracks Still Blockaded.
The Strike Extending to the Other Lines.
The Ft. Wayne, Connelsville and Valley Men Join the Strikers.
The Militia in Arms to Protect the P. R. R. Company.
One Thousand Philadelphia Soldiery on Their Way Hither.
All Quiet Along the Road Last Night.

The local strike of the railroad employes [sic] yesterday assumed a much more serious aspect. The strikers maintained the blockade of the Pennsylvania Central line throughout the entire day. No freight has been sent east from here by this great line for two days. The militia was called out to protect the company but their presence was the signal for hooting and jeering rather than the source of awe. The strikers were determined to maintain their position and there was no way to relieve the company except at great risk of bloodshed and wholesale slaughter. The sympathy of the entire working classes is with the trainmen, and doubtless many of these would have fought on the side of the strikers had there been an attempt to clear the tracks by force.

From the Pennsylvania Central road the strike has extended to the Ft. Wayne, Connelsville and Allegheny Valley road, while it was rumored on the street last night that the Panhandle Railway Company men, too, have abandoned their posts at Dennison. The officials of the Connelsville road and very many of the train men, too, claim that the troubles on that line result from a mob of outsiders. No freight trains were permitted to leave the city on that line last night. Vice President Cassatt, of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Adjutant General Latta were both summoned to this city yesterday by the gravity of the situation. Our local militia will be reinforced to day by Philadelphia troops and if an attempt be made to clear the blockades on the different roads rioting and bloodshed may follow. The engineers have not thus far given notice to any intention to participate in the troubles. The brakemen, flagmen and conductors, and in some cases the firemen, make up the list of strikers. Following is a detached report of yesterday's developments.


The situation of the great local rail way strike yesterday morning remined practically unchanged from the latest intelligence given in our columns yesterday morning. A number of the strikers and their friends remained watching along the line during the entire night. As some of the men grown weary of excitement would retire from the grounds others would arrive, and thus the crowd, while contantly changing, did not diminish in the least. Superintendent Pitcairn, as mentioned yesterday, called upon Sheriff Fife to afford protection for the company. Many of the policemen who were on duty during Thursday, retired to rest, while others came to their beats in the city, and the demand upon the Sheriff was therefore a matter of urgent necessity. The county official visited the grounds at a late hour on Thursday night and stated to the crowd that under the law they were rioters, and must disperse. At this the crowd laughed, and began to hiss him. All his efforts were unavailing. He was told that if any attempt was made to take out a train, they would prevent it at all hazards, no matter who interfered with them. The Sheriff remained on the ground until three o'clock yesterday morning, by which time he became thoroughly convinced that the civil authorities would be of no avail to disperse the men. Then he sent a telegram to the authorities at Harrisburg, explaining the situation and asking aid of malitia [sic] . In reply Adjutant General Latta ordered Major General A. L. Pearson, of the Sixth division, National Guard, to place a regiment on duty to aid the civil authorities in enforcing the law. Gen. Pearson at once issued the orders to the Duquesue Greys to report for duty at the central armory at seven o'clock. This was the situation at breakfast time yesterday morning.


The striking railroaders and their sympathizing friends were earlier risers than the military, and shortly after seven o'clock the crowds at the outer depot and also that at East Liberty were largely swollen by men anxious to learn what the night had brought forth. The new comers gathered in squads about those who had remained on watch all night.

A negative answer was given to their eager inquiries as to whether any further attempts has been made since nine o'clock on the previous night to run out trains. They were futher informed that no such efforts were likely to be made for some hours yet, as the officials of the company after their long seige during the night had not yet had time to consult as to what should be done. The action of the Trainsmen Union, and the probable development of the next twenty-four hours were then discussed, while at the same time the brakemen repeated the tales of their grievances, as told on the night previous. Even thus early in the day many idle rumors were set afloat. It was stated that the freight engineers and firemen of the Pennsylvania Central road, as well as all the trainmen of the Ft. Wayne and Pan Handle roads, were determined to join in the strike and some of the most enthusiastic and credulent discontents really believed that a general strike had been inaugurated. These reports were totally false, however, as all the eastern trains on the two latter roads were sent out as usual and not an intimation of a strike had yet been received from the men in charge thereof. The faces as well as the expressions of the men plainly evinced their determination to resist all attempts of the company to get off their freight, and to continue the fight to the bitter end. The yard at Twenty-eighth street was crowded with laden freight cars which had accumulated during the past thirty-six hours.


Shortly after eight o'clock most of the officials of the Western Division were again at their posts, prepared for the day's campaign. Shortly before nine o'clock there came by telegraph to the officials the proclamation of Governor Hartranft, which had been called out by the correspondence of the night previous. The instrument is as follows:

In the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; a proclamation.

Whereas, It has been represented to me by the proper authorities of Allegheny county that riotous demonstrations exist in the city of Pittsburgh and various points along the line of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, whereby the property of said company and the lives of its employes [sic] are put in jeopardy and the peace and good order of the community are broken, which the said civil authorities are wholly unable to suppress; and,

Whereas, The Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth authorize the Governor, whenever in his judgement the same may be necessary, to employ the militia to suppress domestic violence and preserve the peace;

Now therefore, I, John F. Hartranft, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby admonish all good citizens and all persons within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth against aiding or abetting such unlawful proceedings, and I do hereby command all persons engaged in said riotous demonstrations to forthwith disperse and retire peaceably to their respective places of abode; warning them that a persistence in violence will compel resort to such military force as may be necessary to enforce obedience to the laws.

In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Commonwealth to be affixes this 20th day of July, A. D. 1877 and of the Commonwealth the one hundred and second.

[Signed,] John F. Hartranft, Governor.
M.S. Quay, Sec'y of the Commonwealth.


Copies of the proclamation were immediately furnished all the daily newspaper offices in the city, with the request that the same be bulletined. Printed copies, too, were quickly secured, and these were posted up in many conspicuous places. The strikers, however, treated the document with contempt, as was abundantly proven at the Outer Depot. Shortly after nine o'clock Assistant Superintendent Watt appeared here in the midst of the strikers and tacked up a copy of the proclamation. Sight of the instrument tended to i flame [sic] the crowd, and when Mr. Watt was pasting up he was greeted with hooting and jeering. Cries of "That's a bread-and-butter proclamation!" "Tear it down," etc., were numerous, and for a time there was danger of a row, but the crowd quieted down in a short time. Shortly afterward one of the railroad officials appeared upon the scene, and exhorted the ringleaders of the strikers to desist and allow the trains to pass. The official talked kindly and endeavored to reason with the strikers, but it had no effect. "You can afford to talk," say they; "You get a salary of $150 a month, and a bonus of $500 every six months, and we can't get enough to keep us in bread and butter." It should be stated that no attempts were made to tear down the posters, though some of the strikers offered it the indignity to splatch it with tobacco juice.


Mr. A. J. Cassatt, Third Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, arrived in the city during the morning on the Cincinnati Express train from Philadelphia and at once proceeded to view the situation. He, after a short stay about the vicinity of the depot, drove down town and sought an interview with General Pearson, Sheriff Fife, and Col. Gutherie. The General, Superintendent Pitcairn, of the Western Division, and Mr. Cassatt were closeted together at the headquarters of the Sixth Division for an hour, awaiting the assemblage of the soldiers. It was found impossible to collect the men of the Eighteenth Regiment at seven o'clock, the hour named in the call, as doubtless many of the "bold soldier boys" were still wrapt in peaceful slumbers, totally unconscious of the demand made for their services. The consultation of the officers resulted in General Pearson ordering the Eighteenth regiment which had now assembled in City Hall, to proceed at once to the Outer Depot, and directing the Fourteenth regiment, the Nineteenth regiment and Hutchinson's battery to hold themselves in readiness to move when wanted. Superintendent Pitcairn requested General Pearson to caution his men to use the utmost coolness when they should meet the strikers.

At the close of the consultation General Pearson, Sheriff Fife and Superintendent Pitcairn started for the Outer Depot to get the state of the situation and await the arrival of the Eighteenth regiment. About a quarter of twelve o'clock the regiment left the armory in City Hall, under command of Colonel Guthrie, and headed by Brigadier General Joe Browne, for the Outer Depot. Before their departure Gen. Browne addressed the troops, impressing on them the gravity of the situation. He said it was no play work they were about to engage in, and wished them to be careful not to discharge their guns until they receive the order, as innocent blood might be spilled. They need not fear being imposed upon, for should the strikers offer to attack them the order to fire will be given in time. They were expected to attend to their duty like men. The troops were delayed somewhat at the Union Depot, but finally they embarked. Then they received word from General Pearson directing it to go to East Liberty while the Fourteenth should report, with the Hutchison battery, to the Outer Depot, where there was an immense crowd gathered, in safety. There was no effort on the part of the strikers to stop the train. The soldiers were greeted with jeers, hisses and shouts of derision however. Many of the strikers boldy declared that they could and would easily get away with the soldiers if occasion required it.


Towards noon about four hundred strikers were still gathered at the Outer Depot. There were probably twice that many sitting around the street corners of the vicinity. No attempt was made to disturb the passenger trians and all cattle trains from the Ft. Wayne road were allowed to go as far as the East Liberty stock yards. During the morning an engine and tender from the Ft. Wayne road moved up the Pennsylvania road slowly. When it reached the Outer Depot a number of the strikers jumped aboard and commanded the engineer to turn back. This he agreed to do provided they would make all the rest of the engineers on that road do the same. They gave him assurance that that was part of their plan, and the engine was run back. All other engineers of that road save those with cattle cars were served the same way. Shifting engines and tenders of the Pennsylvania road were allowed to pass to and from East Liberty at will. Over a hundred cars of stock passed the depot during the morning from the Ft. Wayne road.


From noon the crowd at Twenty-eigth street kept increasing until about one o'clock nearly two thousand people were collected in that immediate vicinity. A number of unemployed puddlers and foundrymen mingled with the strikers, and kept cheering them on. At noon seventy-five platform men at the transfer station, near the Outer Depot, quit work. Mr. H. O. Scully, in charge of the office, in a brief speech, requested the men to remain where they were, and stated that a strike would be futile and of no effect. But this advice was unheeded, and this afternoon the Transfer Depot is as quiet as a country churchyard. This little strike differs from the demands of the freight crews. The platform men up to July 1st, received $1 25 per day. After that date, the ten per cent. reduction cut their wages down to $1 12 1/2 per day, i. e., from 7 A.M. to 12 M., and from 1 P.M. to 6 P. M. Less time per day was docked from that sum. This strike is for the re-establishment of the ten per cent. from July 1st. These seventy-five men are nearly all men of family. These proceeded in a body to join the striking brakemen, and upon their arrival at the Outer Depot cheer after cheer rent the air, and the utmost enthusiasm was manifested. This fact raised the spirits of the strikers wonderfully, as did also the announcement received there that the firemen and brakemen on the Philadelphia & Erie railroad had struck.


The freight trains kept coming in until finally there were nearly one thousand laden cars at the yards. The total value of this detained freight was estimated by Assistant Superintendent Watt at nearly one million of dollars. Among the cars was a number which contained butter and eggs. These were destined to foreign points, and as it was impossible to send them they were sent to an ice house. A number of cars which were consigned to Pittsburgh commission merchants were among the blockaded and General Freight Agent Carpenter was obliged to send express wagons out to the Transfer Depot to haul the fruit and vegetables to the parties to whom they were consigned. In this way most of the goods shipped to our Liberty street merchants was saved from destruction yesterday. This action was doubtless the cause of a report that the company was selling the perishable freight to all parties who would apply. The value of the perishable freight still in the blockade cannot be estimated but it is not considered very large. The drovers at East Liberty are also losing heavily from the blockade, as well as commission merchants. The facilities for feeding and watering their cattle are not ample, and the poor beasts must endure much suffering. The drovers cannot possibly get their stock to the Eastern markets, and some of them were selling at the East End yesterday at a sacrifice, rather than run the risk to await the opening of the blockade.


The feeling of the strikers at the Outer Depot was fully as bitter and hostile to the company as on the previous day. They have entered heart and soul into the rebellion against the company, and freely declare that they will not give in one jot or tittle. They sullenly and persistently claim that the company has kept up a systematic course of imposition, and now that they have resisted, declare that they will fight until the company yields or is crippled. The general sympathy of the spectators, too, are with the strikers. The trainmen heretofore discharged are many of them taking an active part in the warfare, while idle puddlers, mill men and mechanics rejoice in the position of the strikers, and goad them on by earnest expressions of sympathy. The women and children, too, deeply sympathize with the men. An incident from which the strikers stemed to derive much satisfaction, and occurred when the Atlantic Express east went along. The lady passengers waived their handkerchiefs and the gentlemen their hats. The strikers received the compliment with loud cheers.


Between nine and ten o'clock yesterday morning another meeting of members of the Trainmen's Union was held to consider the action taken on the previous night. There was a full attendance at the meeting of each class of employes [sic] —engineers, firemen, conductors, brakemen and flagmen—were represented. The meeting was secret, but the reporter was informed that the proceedings were similar to those of the meeting held at Phœnix Hall, on Thursday evening. Speeches were made denouncing the course of the railroad companies, setting forth the grievances of the workingmen, and declaring their intention to make no concessions whatever to the officials. After a full and free expression of opinion, a committee was appointed to prepare a form of address, or proposition rather, to be submitted to Superintendent Pitcairn later in the day. The committee consisted of five members, one from each branch of trainmen. The address embodied the demands contained in the resolution adopted on Thursday night, and printed in full in these columns yesterday. Briefly, the men aked that there shall be no classification of engineers, that the "double header" order and the recent ten per cent. reduction order shall both be annulled. By classification is meant the system of gradation of engineers. A knight of the throttle who has had so many years experience and has been employed by the company for a certain number of years is termed a first-class engineer, and receives the highest pay, those of lesser experience and who have been a shorter time in the employ of the company are termed second and third class engineers, as the case may be, and their pay is reduced accordingly. This plan the engineers claim is detrimental to their cause, because the first-class engineers receive the same amount of salary that a regular engineer would receive under ten per cent. reduction providing there was no classification and the second and third class men receive still less. The "double header," as explained yesterday, simply provides that a train shall consist of thirty-six instead of eighteen cars, while there is left to manage the larger train only the same number of men which formerly run the small train. The order also provides that the men shall run to Altoona instead of Derry and does not make provision for a proportionate increase in pay, compared with the number of miles traveled. These were the main points of the proposition and after the committee had been given proper instructions as to how they should proceed the meeting adjourned. It was stated yesterday that a general meeting of all agrieved workingmen would be held at Phœnix Hall in the evening, but last night the place was deserted and no meeting was held.


During the early part of the afternoon, another call was made by Gen. Pearson for more militia. A second order was given to Hutchinson's battery, and that organization turned out with four guns, together with different additional companies of the Fourteenth and Nineteenth Regiments. The soldiers assembled at the Union Depot for orders. They came in small squads, and their appearance was invariably the signal for yells of derision and hisses from the strikers, their sympathizers and the irrepressible small boys. Hutchinson's battery took a position on Liberty street, near the depot, and while awaiting orders there a large crowd of sepctators was collected. The observers gazed curiously enough at the guns of the artillerists, and the display of powder and ball convinced them that the soldiers were prepared for deadly work if they desired to enter into it. The officials of the railroad company had decided on sending out some of the accumulated freight trains and the additional military force was wanted to protect the trainmen who would handle "double headers." For this purpose then the soldiers gathered about the depot were ordered about five o'clock to proceed to the Outer Depot and they took up their line of march amidst the jeers of the crowd. At the juncture however there occurred.


Vice Presidents A. J. Cassatt and Wm. Thaw, Superintendent Pitcairn, ex-Senator John Scott, counsel of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Maj. Gen. A. L. Pearson were the consulters. A special train of two cars had been ordered to convey these gentlemen to the Outer Depot, so that they could witness the result of the attempt to send out the first train under the obnoxious "double header" order. As the train pushed into the Union depot yard, however, Mr. Thaw suggested that they had better fully consider the result of such attempt and the gentlemen named accordingly retired to the office of Depot Master Butler. Here General Pearson was bluntly asked if his forces could furnish adequate protection to the crew which was to take on the freight. The General replied that he had about two hundred and sixty men at that time under arms, and he felt convinced that they could clear the Outer Depot of the mob, but thought bloodshed and very probably loss of life would follow such an attempt. The force of the strikers and their friends consisted of nearly a thousand men and the General was doubtful as to whether his forces could maintain grounds against this large odds. Mr. Cassatt was rather inclined to force the attempt but Messrs. Thaw and Scott deemed such action imprudent. Mr. Thaw was especially opposed to such a course, and at his suggestion it was decided to make no attempt to run out a train until the troops were reinforced. The matter was then left in the handle of Gen. Pearson who immediately telegraphed Adjutant General Latta, giving him the full particulars of the situation. It was also reported that dispatches were sent to Philadelphia, asking the militia of that city to come to the aid of the Pittsburgh soldiers General Latta responded that he would come to this city by the first train, and he was expected to arrive on the East Line, shortly after eleven o'clock last night. During the consultation Gen. Pearson had ordered the troops to halt on Liberty street, and when the conclusion was finally reached the soldiers were ordered to march back into the depot yard to avoid the crowd.


In the midst of the above consultation Superintendent Pitcairn was called from the office to meet with committee whose appointment by the Trainmen's Union is related above. The entire committee was present. The Superintendent escorted these strikers to a quiet spot and the men presented their proposition. A lengthy discussion followed. Mr. Pitcairn then informed the committee that the railroad company would never accede to such a proposition. He also tried to convince them that they were making an unreasonable demand and asked them to return, and exhort their fellow employes [sic] to resume their posts of duty. The interview continued nearly an hour, and at the end the strikers retired dissatisfied. The reporter attempted to interview several members of the committee, but each attempt proved futile. They positively refused to give any information.


Nothing worthy of note occurred at the above station, the extreme eastern point of the strike, during yesterday morning. Strikers were stationed there all night, and at daybreak they were relieved by others, who were prepared to check all trains if any effort had been made by the company in that direction. Early in the morning there were 139 cars of stock in the Central yards, which had been detained by the strikers. This number was increased to almost 200 by twelve o'clock. These were all ready for shipment eastward. Business was still suspended at the yards, and it is not likely that there will be a revival for at least the next twenty-four hours. The detention here has occasioned a great scarcity of stock in the East, and when they are let loose they will bring higher prices than they have sold at for years. The railroad dispatchers at the yards were not on duty all day, as there was nothing for them to do, the strikers having taken everything in their own hands. In the handling of the company's property, may it be said to their credit, they are as careful as though they were still in its employ. Towards eleven o'clock the crowd began to increase.


Shortly after eleven o'clock, Company F of the Eighteenth Regiment (Dusquesne Greys), in command of Captain Aull, marched to the yards. The company was twenty-five strong, fully equipped and ready for duty, with the exception that they had no ammunition but telegraphed at once, and were supplied with five rounds soon after. The arrival of the militia increased the excitement, and swelled the crowd to several hundred persons. About twelve o'clock, General Pearson, Sheriff Fife and Superintendent Pitcairn arrived on a special train. When the train came to a stop, the Sheriff mounted the rear of the tender, and read the Governor's proclamation, amidst the wildest excitement of the crowd. After its reading, the Sheriff made a few remarks, in which he counseled peace and order, and assured the listeners that the law would be enforced. General Pearson then stepped forward, and addressing the crowd, said that there appeared to be a disposition to treat the matter lightly. He warned them that the matter was very serious, and that he had been called upon by the Governor to protect the railroad company, and he intended to do it. He assured them that it would be useless on the part of the strikers to persist in stopping trains. They certainly would go through to-day by daylight, and he intended to go through on one himself. The military, he said, are not supplied with blank cartridges (in fact they had no ammunition of any kind), and, gentlemen, if there is any blood to be shed, it will be on your heads. In conclusion, he cautioned them to disperse, and especially outsiders, as it is generally the innocent who suffer on an occasion of this kind.


When the General was speaking he was frequently interrupted by cries of "Give us bread," "Who are you?" &c. One of the the strikers asked leave to make a few remarks, to which the General assented. He then said he didn't see why all this commotion had been made, and troops had been sent out to fight a few boys. We have not created any excitement, and have not interfered with the running of any passenger trains. "But," replied the general, "You must let all trains go through, whether they carry passengers or pig metal." After waiting a moment the General asked if they would allow the trains to go through, to which a dozen or more voices shouted, "No! No!" One of the men replied they might get through at Torrens, but "God help the men on the trains afterwards." The party then returned to the city, and as they moved out of the station they were hooted at. A shifting engine, which had brought a train to the yards, followed it, with the strikers hanging on the engine in all positions. Several trains of stock arrived from the west with hundreds of strikers on board, who were bringing them from the Outer Depot, having taken possession of them here.


A few minutes past one o'clock a special train arrived with several companies of the Eighteenth Regiment on board, consisting of over one hundred men. They came well supplied with cartridges. The regiment, in charge of Col. Guthrie, marched into the large yard in front of Mr. Martin's residence, about one hundred yards beyond the station, and there stacked arms. Most every other eastward bound way train brought squads of soldiers and numbers of strikers. The latter express their determination to hold onto the bitter end and make all possible effort to check trains. Some stated to our reporter that they though they were about as well supplied with ammunition as the militia, and though they could make about as good a showing too, if it came down to hot work. One of the strikers spoken to insisted that the proclamation was a fraud, that it was prepared in this city by General Pearson and the railroad officials. "They can't fool me," said he; "Governor Hartranft is in California and I know it." "But," argued a bystander, "he can telegraph on here, which I have no doubt he did." "That's too thin," replied the striker, "but it don't matter, we'll fix 'em."


The strikers came up to Torrens on a heavily laden freight, which they took possession of at the outer depot. Upon disembarking, the ringleaders sought out the militia, and the crowd, numbering probably fifteen hundred persons, followed. As they spotted the soldiers, many of them hurled all manner of abusive epithets at them, and at the same time wedged the Greys into a very narrow space between loaded freight cars and a fence at the corner of Torrens street. Fortunately, no one made an effort to create a disturbance, and the Greys moved around to Morris street, amidst the jeers of the crowd. The noise of an approaching locomotive was here heard, and the crowd ran towards the track, and scattered in all directions. The approaching train happened to be a way passenger, which was allowed to pass. While the troops were standing on Torrens street, Private Davis had some words with Capt. Aull and struck at him and then threw down his gun and left the ranks, but shortly afterwards returned and assumed his position. This created a little excitement which, however, was soon over. While passing this station in a passenger train Conductor Love was struck on the head with a missle by some unknown party.


At midnight Adjutant General Latta arrived in the city from Harrisburg. He took rooms at the Union Depot Hotel, and immediately went into consultation with Gen. Pearson and some of the officers of the road who are at present in this city. In answer to a question as to what the movement of troops would be to day, Gen. Pearson replied that they had not yet decided. From what could be learned about the depot, however, it is inferred that immediately upon the arrival of the Philadelphia troops, who have been ordered out, Adjutant General Latta will station them at the Outer Depot and at Torrens, and an attempt will be made to run a train through. The Fourteenth regiment, under command of Col. Gray, excepting one company which is at the East End, is staioned at the Union Depot. The regiment is three hundred strong, and is well supplied with ammunition. Knapp's Battery is also here awaiting orders to move. The following dispatch was received from Philadelphia early this morning:


Philadelphia, July 20.—The officers of the Pennsylvania railraod say that immediate concentration of troops on the road will be very large and amply sufficient to restore and preserve perfect order. The company is making arrangements at all points for the protection of its property and safety of its men who remain loyal to its service.

At eight o'clock this evening, Maj. Gen. R. M. Brinton, commanding the First Division of the N. G. R., received the following dispatch:

You will more with your entire division, cavalry and artilery, dismounting via the Pennsylvania Railroad to Pittsburgh, reporting on your arrival to Major General Pearson. Advise him and me of your departure from Philadelphia and your progress along the road. Ammunition will be furnished you at Harrisburg and will be in charge of Geo. C. Kelley and Gen. Diven. The Pennsylvania Railroad will furnish transportation.

[Signed] Jas. W. Latta.
Adjutant General.

Immediately upon receipt of the above, notices were sent to various commands and to-night men are mustering at all the armories. The division includes the First, Second, Third and Sixth regiments, the Keystone battery, City troops, Black Hussars, Washington Greys, [Wescacol] Legion and Invincibles. These commands number about 2,000 men, but it is feared that not more than 1,000 can be mustered to-night. Gen. Brinton has his headquarters at league House and is now receiving reports from various commands in Pennsylvania. Have made very arrangement here for carrying troops to Pittsburgh, and cars are waiting at the depot. It is not likely that the command will move before morning. Information received from West Philadelphia depot this evening indictes that no strike of freight brakemen is anticipated on the Eastern Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. President Scott and other officials will remain at the depot all night Mayor Stokely had a conversation with some of the freight conductors this afternoon, who stated that if there is no strike before midnight there would be none.

Harrisburg, July 20—No indications of a strike in this vicinity at 10 o'clock. The operator at Altoona reports all quiet and no trouble is apprehended there. A large amount of ammunition and two gatling guns were shipped from the State Arsenal to-night to Pittsburgh.


About half-past three o'clock yesterday afternoon the strike was inaugurated on the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago railroad, by the firemen and brakemen. It had no sooner become known than crews of about twenty freight trains joined the movement, and by last evening their forces became still more strengthened by other employes [sic] . The engineers have thus far not taken any part, but they are obliged to remain idle, as they cannot take out their engines without the assistance of the firemen. The strikers have made their headquarters near Woods Run station, where they stop all trains, except accommodations, in the same manner as the Pennsylvania Railroad strikers. About four o'clock they stopped and took possession of a heavily laden freight train bound for the west. The crew was put off and the train was moved into a siding. From the time that the strike became known the crowd began to increase until there had assembled between three and five hundred thousand people. Many iron workers and other tradesmen were among the crowd and encouraged the strikers to "stick." At eight o'clock a train came thundering along from the west. Seeing that it was a freight the strikers formed a line on each side of the track and cheered for all that was in them. As the train approached, the engineer blew the whistle and attempted to push through, but the crowd wouldn't stand it and about fifty men boarded the engine and made him stop. After the excitement had ceased somewhat, he was allowed to proceed to the stock yards with one cattle car, which was attached to the train. Since that hour no attempt has been made by the authorities to run a train, and the strikers are jubilant, though no demonstrative. Some of the latter, who were interviewed by our reporter, asserted that they are determined to hold out until the company accedes to their demands, which is a restoration of the ten per cent. reduction taken from their wages.


All day long reports were circulated to the effect that freight train employes [sic] of the Pittsburgh Division of the Baltimore & Ohio road had made a common cause with their fellow employes [sic] at the other end of the line and with the trainmen of the Pennsylvania Central road. Shortly before eight o'clock the reporter called at the Connellsville depot to trace out the rumors. He found the trainmen ready to assume their placed on the through evening freight trains, and was assured by both official and employe [sic] that there had been no intimation of a strike by the men here. The men took their position on the train, but the latter did not proceed far unmolested. At Everson & Macrums mill, near the upper Birmingham bridge, a crowd of nearly six hundred men had collected. Some of these mounted the engine demanding all the crew to abandon their posts and there was nothing left but for them to concede. When the officials learned of the transaction they refused to send out any more trains, so that the through freight is detained now on this line too. The officers of the road say they have implicit confidence in their men and do not believe the report that the regular employes [sic] of the road are willingly on a strike. Many of the men themselves say they are anxious to continue at work and that there was not a Connellsville railroader among the yelling, hooting crowd which prevented the trian from going out. Indeed they say they crowd consisted of idle mill hands. Squads of men came to the place from the South Side, and this disturbance is laid at the door of outsiders altogether. The crowd remained about the road at this point yeling and hooting until a late hour in the night. One of the officials of the road stated to the reporter that they would not attempt to run any freight trains through from this point until the troubles are finally settled News of the disturbance here spread rapidly through that portion of the city surrounding so that the crowd was very largely swollen by idle spectators and curiosity seekers. In this connection we may state that the officials of the Pennsylvania line request the women and children to keep away from the crowds at the Outer Depot and at the stock yards on this line. They are liable to danger and insult among the boisterous crowds.


Thus far there has been no trouble on the Pan Handle road at this end of the line, though it was reported last night that the men at Dennison, the other terminus of this division had struck. The report was not verified however.


The freight brakemen on the Allegheny Valley too have joined in the strike it was reported last night. They demand that the ten per cent. reduction be annulled, but are not known to have any other grievances. It is said they will conduct the strike in the same style with thir [sic] fellow employes [sic] of the Pennsylvania Central line.

The strike on the Fort Wayne road of course prevented any freight trains from running through on the Cleveland & Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh & Erie roads. The former line branches off the Fort Wayne line at Rochester, twenty-six miles from the city, and the latter leaves the tracks at Homewood, a few miles further from the city.


The Duquesne Greys at a late hour last night were still stationed at East Liberty, while the Fourteenth and Nineteenth Regiments are now at the depot, awaiting orders to move. In mustering the men together, the officers of each regiment experienced considerable trouble. Many of the men refused to fall in ranks, and did not until visited by a squad and threatened with arrest. Some of those who were forced into line said they would not take up arms against the workingmen. Many of them were interrogated by our reporter as to their feelings in the matter, and in every instance they were outspoken in their expressions of sympathy for the strikers. The Greys were given supper at the Eastern Exchange last evening, and the members of the Fourteenth and Nineteenth Regiments were treated to a royal supper at the Union Depot Hotel. The Greys were to start to Lake Chatauqua this evening for an eight days' encampment, but last evening it was stated that they would forego the trip for the present. A strange fact is that among the militia are several of the strikers, and brothers of strikers. The Philadelphia troops are expected to arrive early this morning.

About this Document

  • Source: The Daily Post
  • Date: July 21, 1877