Friday, December 06, 2013

"Men ran from house to house, borrowing shotguns, rifles and other firearms...."


No Visible Improvement in the
Strike Situation.


Details of the Deadly Work of the Illinois
Militia at Forty-Ninth Street--A Dozen
Deaths Likely to Result and Many More
Wounded--The Revelry of Incendiarism
and Destruction Continues But Is Some-
what Checked--Debs and Sovereign Send
a Telegram to Cleveland--Riot Breaks
Out at Hammond, Ind., and the Federal
Troops Fire on the Mob--Summary of
the Situation.

   Chicago, July 9.--In spite of the blood-shed of Saturday and the reported riot at Hammond, Ind., the interest of yesterday so far as strike matters were concerned was centered in the conferences of trades unions, which were held during the day and the final conference of representatives of trades which was held last night.
Action of the Typographical Union.
   There were between 800 and 900 members of Chicago Typographical union present when President Griffon rapped for order. Three delegates to the union conference were appointed and instructed to do all they could to bring about arbitration, but to inform the meeting that the typographical union can not go out on a strike at this time. The reason for this action is that the union has a contract with the publishers of this city, made last spring, and does not propose to repudiate it. Resolutions were adopted of sympathy with the A.R.U. in its fight against the railways, denouncing the sending of regulars into the city, endorsing Governor Altgeld, voting $1000 to the support of the Pullman strikers, and condemning the attitude of all the city papers except The Times.

   At this writing it is not known what action was taken by the meeting of the committees appointed by the different trades held last night.

A Few Dozen of the Second Illinois Do Some Very Deadly Work.

   Chicago, July 9.--"And it is further ordered that if any act of hostility be committed, such as firing upon such railroad trains or assaulting the trainmen, marshals or soldiers by throwing at them stones or other missiles, those assaults shall be repelled by the use of firearms." This was General Miles' order, that the regulars should use their ball cartridges under the conditions enumerated. But it turned out that the first to use lead was a company of the Second regiment, I.N.G. There were only about forty men, but while they were in action they showed that they could defeat a mob of thousands.

   It will take a long time to obtain a full list of the casualties, but besides some dozens who are reported wounded in all degrees from slightly to seriously--among them Lieutenant Reed, of Company C, (the company in the fight), who was knocked down with a brick before the troops fired, and who is quite seriously hurt--the following are the fatal cases: John Burke, known as "Engine" Burke, bayonet thrust, instant death; unknown man, shot through the breast. Fatally hurt: John Kronberg, bayonet wounds in the breast; Thomas Jackman, shot in the stomach and through the back; John Schultz, shot in right thigh; John Smidt, shot through both legs: Peter Sezriianski, shot through the breast; unknown man, shot through the thigh; unknown man, shot through the liver.

   The fight occurred at the intersection of Forty-ninth street and the Grand Trunk tracks, a locality which has always had an evil name. Serious trouble was expected there early in the morning. Before 9 o'clock a mob gathered and made threats of burning the roundhouse. Aid was asked and company C, Second infantry, thirty-seven strong, commanded by Captain Mair, was hurried to the spot. The militia was reinforced by a number of deputies and the mob was pressed back from the roundhouse. The mob, however, increased in size until there were fully 8,000 howling rioters facing the troops. Noise was not enough. however, to entertain the mob, so a portion of it ran a freight car into the pit of the turntable, and later pushed a freight car on the track intending to wreck it there so as to block the soldiers' train.

   Captain Mair conferred with the police and concluded to retire while he could, as be did not want to be put to the necessity of firing on the mob. He detailed half his men to clear the obstruction while the balance held the crowd back. Preparations for retreat of course emboldened the mob which immediately began more violent demonstrations (it had been throwing stones and shouting abuse all the time), and made rush after rush at the troops each of which was met and repulsed. Of course this could not last always; the mob began raining missiles on the troops. Lieutenant Reed was struck down us if dead and then a charge was ordered.

   The handlful of militiamen sprang forward with leveled bayonets. John Burke was standing in front of the mob throwing coal. One of the first soldiers in the charge plunged his bayonet clear through Burke's body, the point coming out at the back. The mob broke before the charge, but quickly rallied, and after a short pause came on again, sending a pattering of bullets before it. The troops, deputies and police waited for no orders, but rifles came to a level, revolvers Were drawn and the storm of leaden death swept into the mob.

   Men fell right and left, but the militia, deputies and police pressed forward rapidly, driving the crowd before them in the wildest confusion. It was all over in three minutes, and the militia marched into the train, and with the deputies returned to the city. They looked as though they had been through a battle when they disembarked at Dearborn station. Uniforms were torn, hats gone; they were covered with dust and dirt, and many of them were badly bruised.

   As the train with the militia on board moved off the mob crowded about the handful of police left behind. From all sides they rushed upon them, hurling stones and iron in mad assault. The men drew their revolvers, and prepared for a desperate battle. The mob set fire to a car, broke a switch and tore up rails. A fire alarm was sent in with an urgent call for police assistance. When it arrived several patrol wagon loads there was no parleying. The wagons drove into the mob and the police used revolvers first, clubs next, dispersing the rioters.

   The saddest features of the rioting were the killing of a girl of 17 during the melee--she was standing on the top of a house looking at the riot; the severe wounding of a woman who will lose her leg, and the fact that incendiarism on the Burlington road at Crawford and Western avenues was the work of women and children. During the night there were frequent fights with the mob at different points, but nothing serious. The hay barn near Nelson, Morris & Co's packing house was set on fire and destroyed and all day and night there were sporadic cases of incendiarism and outlawry.

Gov. Matthews Orders Fifteen Companies
of Militia to That Point.

   A dispatch from Indianapolis says that Governor Matthews has ordered fifteen companies of militia to Hammond, Ind. The number of men is 750. This action was taken on account of the mob having taken possession of the yards there, driven off the deputy sheriffs and marshals, beaten the telegraph operators, and kidnapped one who sent a telephone message to Chicago when the mob had destroyed telegraphic communication. The rioting culminated in a conflict between the mob and company B Fifteenth United States infantry, in which Charles Fleisher, a laborer, was killed; Victor Vaceter, fatally wounded, and William Campbell, shot through both legs. A number of people were wounded, but carried away by their friends, and it is impossible to learn the exact number of wounded. The rioters burned cars and disabled engines and generally reveled in turbulence of all kinds.

   The most disturbance was inside the Illinois state line, and as soon as the Illinois militia arrived the mob retired into Indiana and jeered at the troops. The sheriff and deputies were powerless, and as there was no hope of the Indiana militia arriving soon enough an appeal was made to the federal authorities in Chicago. Company B, Fifteenth infantry, thirty-five men, was sent out at once. The troops were stationed about the Monon station, and their presence quieted things for a time. The blockade was finally raised, and several passenger trains pulled through.

   This seemed to anger the mob, and with increase of numbers its passions grew to a frenzy. The regulars were greeted with oaths and shouts of derision and volleys of sticks and stones were showered upon them. The men stood their ground, however, and kept the mob from approaching the buildings. By 3 o'clock fully 5,000 rioters assembled. Several times they rushed upon the troops, but were met with fixed bayonets and driven back.

   At last, however, the entire body of the the mob made a determined rush toward the depot. "Make ready; fire," was the command, and thirty-five Springfields rang out in response. A second volley quickly followed. The first staggered the crowd and the second stopped it as effectually as if it had run against a stone wall. Several men were seen to fall, but they but they taken away by their comrades. In the rush that followed the shooting scores of women and children were trampled under foot and half a dozen women fainted.

   After the retreat of the rioters the soldiers took up a position on the railroad tracks. News of the shooting spread with rapidity and in ten minutes the streets in the vicinity were filled with a threatening mob again. Major Hartz left his it his company to assist in placing Vaceter in the patrol wagon and was immediately surrounded by a mob. "Kill him!" "Shoot him!" were the cries as the crowds surged around the major. He ignored the danger, however, and was not molested. Excitement by this time was intense.

   Men ran from house to house, borrowing shotguns, rifles and other firearms. "To arms" was the cry on every side, and fully 5,000 responded. Matters looked so threatening that a call was sent to Chicago for reinforcement, and two more companies were sent out on a special train. These additional troops effectually cowed the rioters for the time being. Major Hartz arrested four leaders of the mob and sent them to Chicago with a detail of troops. As they started the crowd stoned the train, but was quickly dispersed by the soldiers.

[Rock Island Argus, Rock Island, Ill., Monday, July 9, 1894. Vol. XLII No. 223 Pg. 2]

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