Mr. Garrett to the President: An Urgent Request for United States Troops

On Wednesday, July 18, 1877, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad President John W. Garrett sends a message to President Hayes urging him to send United States troops to end the strike and the "open intimidation" of railroad employees who did not join the strike.

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Mr. Garrett sent the following despatch to President Hayes on Wednesday:

To his Excellency, R.B. Hayes, President of the United States, Washington:

I am informed that Governor Matthews, of West Virginia, has telegraphed your Excellency that, owing to unlawful combinations and domestic violence now existing at Martinsburg, and at other points along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, it is impossible for any force at his command to execute the laws of the State, and has therefore called upon the Government for assistance of the United States military in this great and serious emergency. I have the honor to urge that the application of Governor Matthews be immediately granted: it is impossible for the company to move any freight train, because of the open intimidation of strikers and attacks that they have made upon men in the service of the company who are willing to work, unless this difficulty is immediately stopped.

I apprehended the greatest consequences not only upon our line but upon all the lines in the country which, like ourselves, have been obliged to introduce measures of economy in these trying times for the preservation of the effectiveness of railway property.

May I ask your Excellency, if the application of Governor Matthews be granted, to have me immediately advised through the Secretary of War the points from which the troops will be sent, in order that no delay may occur in their transportation.

If I may be permitted to suggest, Fort McHenry and Washington are points nearest to the scenes of disturbance, and from which the movement can be made with greatest promptness and rapidity.

It is proper to add that from full information on the subject I am aware the Governor of West Virginia has exerted all the means at his command to suppress the insurrection, and that this great national highway can only be restored for public use by the interposition of United States forces.

From an imperative sense of duty I am compelled to join in asking immediate action in order to prevent the rapid increase of the difficulties in use of lines between Washington City and Baltimore and Ohio river.

JOHN W. GARRETT, President Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

About this Document

  • Source: Baltimore American
  • Author: John W. Garrett
  • Published: Baltimore
  • Date: July 18, 1877