The Blair Mountain Fight
By streiff Posted in History — Comments (1) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
August 24-September 4, 1921. Logan County, West Virginia. A mere eighty-five years ago miners and coal mine operators squared off at Blair Mountain during the Mine Wars in West Virginia. State militia were called out. Federal troops were dispatched. An Army Air Force squadron led by Billy Mitchell dropped bombs on the miners making it the only instance where US aircraft have been used to deliberately attack US citizens.
Three hundred twenty-five miners were eventually indicted for murder, twenty-four miners were indicted for treason and one was convicted of treason. Unfortunately for him he was simply fighting for the basic rights of man and not ensconced on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun, meeting with North Vietnamese officials, or fighting with al-Qaeda.
There are ironies from this episode that still abound. The man who probably did the most to precipitate the war, directly and indirectly, was the elected constable of Matewan, West Virginia, Sid Hatfield. Hatfield was the prime mover in the shootout between the citizens of Matewan and detectives of the Baldwin-Felts Agency. On August 1, 1921 Sid Hatfield was shot down on the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse, Welch, West Virginia by Baldwin-Felts detectives. Sid was shot over 20 times, his assassins only stopped shooting when his wife covered his body with her own and begged them to stop shooting.
Hatfield’s name is omitted from the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and there is no evidence that the United Mine Workers, who declare Hatfield a hero on their website have ever petitioned to have his name added.