Midnight News from the Seat of War

This article from the July 18, 1877 edition of the Baltimore Sun gives an account of the strikers' growing strength and the government's inability to stop it.

Midnight News from the Seat of War.

Midnight intelligence has been received here by the 11 o'clock train from the West that the strike has extended over the entire line, which as greatly encouraged the strikers, who in consequence feel more confident and determined. Otherwise the situation remains unchanged.

About two hundred of the strikers and their supporters are at this hour strung along the railroad in squads, in the city and vicinity, armed with pistols and some few with guns. Perfect order prevails, and even the conversations of the strikers discussing the situation are in subdued tones.

A guard of twelve men and a sergeant of Berkley Light Infantry are stationed at the court-house guarding the company's armory. The company is largely composed of railroad men, and in consequence they were unwilling to act when called out this morning. It is not likely that they will be called out again, as it seems to be the impression that the majority of them would not respond to orders.

Mr. Thomas R. Sharp, master of transportation, has been at the telegraph office during the night up to this hour busily corresponding with the officers of the company regarding the situation and receiving advices. He states that Gov. Matthews has ordered a militia company to this point from Moorefield.

It is not known here what action has been taken in regard to requesting the interference of the United States soldiers, but the opinion is generally expressed that the nature of the disturbance would not warrant the President in such a course. This feeling gives the strikers further assurance.

The Wheeling militia company, expected here to-night, did not arrive. The strikers remain at their posts, doubtless expecting their arrival. The strikers say they do not want any bloodshed, but they will resent any interference. It is stated that a gang of fifty men are located a few miles west from here at this hour to obstruct the military should they come on a special train.

The strikers will not interfere with any trains carrying the United States mail. The Wheeling company, it is understood, will not arrive here until five o'clock this (Wednesday) morning, when an attempt will be made to pass out the trains. The militia company comprises 40 or 50 men. It is thought that a movement will be made to arrest the ringleaders in the strike. The situation is very alarming.

The strike went into effect on the third division this morning, and no freight trains are allowed to pass Keyser, Piedmont and other points, where considerable excitement prevails, but there is no report of any serious deisturbance.

Private Poisal, a party to the shooting of Vandergriff, is conductor on a freight train, but is not connected with the strike. The strikers justify the shot fired at him on the ground that he was overstepping his duty, as he had not orders from Capt. Faulkner to close the switch. - Poisal's injuries are slight. Vandergriff is now in an easy condition, and there are hopes of his recovery. The strikers are greatly incensed over the shooting, and serious disturbance would doubtless have followed his death. His left arm was amputated at the elbow, and the thumb of the right hand was also removed.

At this hour, quarter past one o'clock, almost everybody has retired except the knots of strikers along the railroad. Several hundred people have been congregated at the depot during the night.

About this Document

  • Source: Baltimore Sun
  • Date: July 18, 1877