AP Was There: Masking the Battle for Blair Mountain in 1921

LOGAN, W.Va. — When a mine business battle 100 years in the past sparked the biggest armed rebellion in the USA because the Civil Struggle, The Related Press was there, sending a number of bulletins every day to replace the nation’s newspapers on every improvement.

1000’s of coal miners had marched to unionize, fed up with poor wages and residing situations and angered by killings of their supporters. Defying martial legislation, they gathered weapons and have been met on Blair Mountain by forces mustered by the anti-union Logan County sheriff.

Not less than 16 males died within the 12-day battle, which included planes dropping bombs on the miners’ camps. They lastly surrendered to federal troops despatched by President Warren G. Harding on Sept. 3, 1921.

One other dozen years would go earlier than employees have been assured the appropriate to collectively discount in 1933 as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. West Virginia coal miners then joined the United Mine Staff by the hundreds.

As descendants of these miners march this Labor Day weekend to recollect the sacrifices that enabled the working situations most People now get pleasure from, the AP is retransmitting a choice of the bulletins that moved that pivotal day:



Preventing Resumed with Machine Gun Alongside Crooked Creek;

Bombs Dropped by Airplanes in Mine Struggle Do No Injury;

Belligerent Marchers Reported to Be Disposed to Go House;



WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 3 — A message obtained on the conflict division late right now from Brig. Gen. H.H. Bandholtz in West Virginia, mentioned:

“About 400 insurgents surrendered this afternoon at Sharples and Madison, handing over about eighty firearms. They have been instantly despatched out of the disturbed space by practice.”


CHARLESTON, W.Va., Sept. 3 — Federal troops working out of Madison within the territory occupied by armed bands had their first encounter right now close to Sharples, after they met and disarmed among the males holding a locomotive on the Little Coal river department of the Chesapeake & Ohio.


LOGAN, W.Va., Sept. 3 — Boyden R. Sparkes, correspondent of the New York Tribune, was shot within the head and leg whereas making his manner with different newspaper correspondents over the mountains from Blair to Logan right now, in keeping with Dr. H.D. Hatfield, former governor of West Virginia, who dressed his wounds. Dr. Hatfield mentioned the injuries weren’t severe. Not one of the others was injured. Firing was resumed at midday from a Cripple Creek machine gun.

Kentucky Firing is Resumed

WILLIAMSON, W.Va., Sept. 3 — Firing from the Kentucky hills alongside Tug river into West Virginia mining villages was resumed right now shortly after the withdrawal of the guard which Maj. Tom Davis, Gov. Morgan’s private consultant in Mingo county, had maintained through the night time. Nobody was damage, Maj. Davis mentioned.

Firing throughout the Tug river nearly reached the proportions of civil conflict earlier in the summertime and army rule was established, however there was no disturbance for a number of weeks till right now.

With the withdrawal of the state police from Mingo county to re-enforce the “protection military” in Logan, Maj. Davis mustered into the state service an organization of the brand new nationwide guard. These males have been strengthened by some 500 volunteers, who’ve been held in readiness right here for doable eventualities within the coal-strike zone alongside Tug river.

Bombs Drop About Miners

MADISON, W.Va., Sept. 3 — Sub district President Blizzard of the United Mine Staff, who visited the firing line to tell the embattled miners federal troops had arrived, says 5 airplanes despatched up from Logan county dropped bombs manufactured of gaspipe and excessive explosives over the miners’ land, however that nobody was injured. One of many bombs, he reviews, fell between two ladies who have been standing in a yard, however it did not explode.

Armed Bands Re-Enforced

MADISON, W.Va., Sept. 3 — That the miners didn’t anticipate to surrender the struggle till the federal troops have been truly on the combating floor was evidenced right here early right now, when a string of flat automobiles alleged to have been commandeered by armed bands and carrying recruits and provides to the entrance preceded the primary troop practice as much as Sharples.

Report W.Va. Bands Quitting

CHARLESTON, W.Va., Sept. 3 — With the arrival of all the USA troops ordered into the disturbed counties of the southwestern a part of the state on the positions designated by Brig. Gen. H.H. Bandholtz, in control of the federal troopers, there have been reviews right now that there was a motion towards house in progress on the a part of the belligerent miners’ partisans.


The AP Company Archives contributed to this report.

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