The Battle of Bull Hill, cont.
Aspen Weekly Times, June 13, 1894
THE WAR IS OVER
CRIPPLE CREEK AT PEACE
The Miners Surrender BullHill and Most of the Leaders DisappearThe Deputies and Militia Too Much for Them.
Governor Waite and President Calderwood finally reached Colorado Springs Saturday at 10 o'clock. A meeting was quickly arranged for at which the principal mine owners agreed to pay $3 for a straight eight hours work but would not agree to employ union men exclusively. This proposition was taken down to Governor Waite at the Antlers hotel at 11 o'clock. The governor replied with some heat that if the mine owners would appoint one man to arbitrate with every lawyer in Colorado Springs.
This ended the interview. Governor Waite when about to start for Denver was served by Sheriff Bowers with a formal demand for troops. The governor said he would take the matter under consideration, and shaking his fist in the sheriff's face, said: "G-- d-- the mine owners; if they want paece they can have it in five minutes." He then disappeared inside the train.
John Calderwood's position during the day was a decidedly unpleasant one. A large crowd gathered about the building where the conference was held and threats were made against him. Many demanded that he should be arrested, and some talk of lynching was indulged in. Upon the solicitation of Governor Waite, President Slocum and others he was allowed to depart for Denver with the governor. Sheriff Bowers of El Paso county followed the governor's special train into Denver three hours later, and it is said that he had a warrant for the arrest of John Calderwood, but as he was not arrested on Sunday, it is doubtful if the sheriff had any such intention.
The marshaling of deputy sheriffs for Cripple Creek went on very rapidly. Fully 350 went over to Manitou Sunday morning and took the train to Divide. A force of 300 men left Sunday. A cavalry company of 100 has been organized and left for camp. All were well armed and well mounted and expected to do effective service.
With the belligerent miners on Bull Hill there was no change in the situation. They expected a battle on Monday and were prepared for it. Reports from the camp were very meagre as the wires of the two telegraph companies were down. The governor's intentions about calling out the militia were not clear, he changed his mind so frequently. There were all sorts of rumors about the militia and the intercession of government troops. It appeared reasonably certain that the federal government would take no action however. It is probable that the governor will call out the militia as soon as hostilities begin.
The reported attempt of Sheriff Bowers to arrest President Calderwood caused the most intense excitement at Cripple Creek and threats of retaliation were freely made.
The good news was flashed over the wires from Denver to Cripple Creek late Monday Night that Governor Waite, representing the miners, and Messrs. Hagerman and Moffatt, representing the mine owners, had agreed upon terms of compromise, and that there was a prospect of peace.
It appears that President Jeffery of the Rio Grande had interested himself in securing peace and succeeded in getting the principals named to go to the Equitable building Monday night.
Governor Waite was quick to submit to the mine owners the same demands that were made at the Colorado springs meeting on Saturday. In this the governor asked for eight hours work, with twenty minutes of the eight hours work cut out for lunch, and the employment of no non-union men. The offer was not only promptly rejected, but the governor notified that unless "reasonable and fair" terms were offered, the conference might as well end.
The governor's second proposition agreed to eight hours' actual work for a day's labor, but it contained the clause so objectionable to the mine owners, that referring to the employment only of union men.
Again the governor was notified of the rejection of the overture. The mine owners claimed that apart from all sentiment, it would be impossible for the mine owners to open their mines without the right to employ non-union labor. They questioned if they could get enough people to man their mines, and that if the did, there would be nothing to prevent the men from repeating the present difficulties as often as might please them.
This, then, left the governor no recourse other than to bind the men to work eight hours actual time, with twenty minutes at noon for lunch, which twenty minutes is not to be deducted from their eight hours labor. He won the demand for $3 pay, but lost the important point of emplying only union men.
A paper was drawn up and signed by the three parties. The conditions read as follows:
"First--That eight hours actual work shall constitute a day, divided as follows. Four hours continuous work, then twenty minutes for lunch, then four hours continuous work, for which said eight hours of labor shall be paid $3.
"Second--In the employment of men there shall be no discrimination against union men or against non-union men."
Governor Waite acted for the miners on the strength of a power of attorney given by the miners' union of Cripple Creek. In order to insure acquiescence on the part of the miners to the agreement the governor at once issued an order calling out the entire state militia and ordering them to proceed to Cripple Creek under command of General Brooks. In this order he incorporated the following command to the miners: "All persons whoever in said El Paso unlawfully engaged in strife are warned to preserve the peace; any unlawfully in possession of real property to yield the possession thereof to the rightful owners, and to cease from any and all acts tending to promote civil war, to the end that the laws may resume their sway, and the rights ofproperty determined by the courts."
When the news of the settlement was carried to Cripple Creek it was received with rejoicing. Early Tuesday a meeting of all the strikers was to be held in the Altman square, the proposal of settlement subbmitted to them and final action taken upon it. If the miners refuse to ratify the agreement the whole state militia numbering 800 men and reinforced by nearly 1,000 deputies would be sent against them.
The Denver Republican stated Tuesday morning that the reason Governor Waite asked for another conferene and finaly made terms was that he did not want to accede to Sheriff Bowers' request for state aid in suppressing the belligerant miners. Troops sent in this way would be under the orders of Sheriff Bowers and a terrible conflict must ensue. Governor Waite's desire was to declare martial law in the district and disarm everybody, including the sheriff's forces. His attorneys advised him on Monday noon, says the Republican, that in view of the fact that Sheriff Bowers had asked for troops, the governor could not do this. If he should, the federal government could interfere on the ground that the governor was violating the law and that civil war existed. Hence the renewed attempts to secure peace.
Monday in the Cripple Creek district was a day of excitement and dread. All the women and children from the surrounding towns were gathered at Cripple Creek to avoid the dangers of a battle. The stages and other vehicles leaving the camp were loaded with panic-stricken people. Reports were constantly circulated that the deputies were advancing, and everyone was on the qui vive.
A. T. Woods was carried to the miners' fortress Sunday night and given a court martial on a charge of having given away the strikers' plans. He was acquitted and released Monday.
In the agreement nothing was said about the punishment of the men who had violated the law.
On Tuesday Mr. Hagerman called attention to the fact that he and Mr. Moffat had signed the compromise agreement for themselves alone but will try to induce the others to accept it. There seems to be little doubt that the provisions of the compromise will be endorsed by the mine owners, but as a condition precedent to this they demand that their properties be restored to them and that they be allowed to work them in their own way. Some of them were rather indignant to-day when the story got abroad that they had settled the matter without first having had their mines restored to them by due process of law. Irving Howbert and others said: "At first the insurrection must be suppressed and the law breakers arrested and then compromise can be discussed."
In fact there was considerable talk of this kind at Colorado Springs during the day. Sheriff Bowers continued to swear in deputies and took 250 up to Divide in the afternoon. It was understood that Sheriff Bowers' intention was to retain his big force of deputies until the mines were in possession of their owners and until he had served warrants upon a large number of the leading miners. The number of arrests was put as high as 200.
Governor Waite expressed himself as satisfied that there would be peace. He sent General Brooks down to Colorado Springs to secure the ratification by the mine owners of the agreement. General Brooks was then to go to Cripple Creek and satisfy himself of the intentions of the miners. It was expected that these conferences would not be completed before Thursday morning.
In the meantime the militia was sent forward. The troops from Denver did not get away until Late Tuesday night, as the Boulder company was delayed. They went via Pueblo and Florence. It was feared they would be delayed by floods near Pueblo.
The troops from other points also started for Florence Tuesday night.
When the news of the compromise was received at Cripple Creek there was great satisfaction, and it was apparent at first that it would be ratified. The warlike conditions were relaxed and pickets drawn in. A meeting of the miners was arranged for 7:30 in the evening. But in the afternoon reports were spread that many of the mine owners would not endorse the agreement. The miners also began to be apprehensive of wholesale arrests, which would permit the employment of great numbers of non-union men, and later a quiet boycott of union men.
It was also reported that deputies were moving from Divide toward the camp. These reports and rumors caused distrust to take the place of joy. The pickets were again posted and the meeting declared off temporarily.
A special dispatch to the Denver News early Wednesday morning was in substance as follows:
At 10 o'clock Monday night all the newspaper correspondents at Divide were invited to the headquarters of the deputies and then kept locked up for several hours to prevent news getting out. Then the 1,200 deputies were ordered to advance. At 12:30 midnight the deputies were ready to leave for Midland. Fifteen box cars had been pressed into service, and all the men and ammunition loaded into them. At 2 o'clock this morning Camp Divide was deserted. At 6 o'clock firing was heard in the direction of Midland. At dawn the scouts and artillerymen will be in possession of Beaver Park. After that a committee composed of United States Marshal Brown and Detective Loomis will go to Bull Hill and demand that certain strikers be turned over. Neither Bowers or Veatch was at the camp and it was not known who was in command.
The reported departure of deputies from Divide was found to be correct. At noon they had reached Gillette where they encamped at a distance of four miles from Bull Hill. They had pitched their tents in regular camp fashion and run up the American flag. This advance angered the miners and Governor Waite. The latter declared that Bowers and his force had violated an armistice. A dispatch was received by the governor at 2 p. m. Wednesday, saying that his force would not advance farther until the militia reached it and then the deputies would follow the troops.
It was stated that early Thursady morning Deputy United States Marshal Brown and Deputy Sheriff Warren would go up Bull Hill under a flag of truce and ask 200 miners for whom they held warrants to surrender.
It was reported that most of the men for whom warrants are out have left the district and that not more than a dozen suspects would be on the hill Thursday. The end of the strike, as far as convictions are concerned, may be the same as that in the Coeur d'Alene mining district.
It appeared later that the advance of the deputies was due to the lack of a military head. Who it was gave the instructions to open fire could not be learned, but about 200 shots were exchanged between the advance guard of the deputies and the retreating pickets of the miners.
The deputies appeared to be anxious for a fight. It is thought that real hostilities might have commenced if a courier from Sheriff Bowers had not reached camp with orders to wait for the militia.
The troops from Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs after a long wait at the latter point, were finally transferred to the Midland trains as there was no prospect of getting to Cripple Creek by way of Florence. The left the Springs at 6 p. m. and were expected to be with the deputies early Thursday morning. The companies from western points were also nearing the scene of war. The Lake City company promised that they would not fight the strikers.
Governor Waite sent to General Brooks the following order: "When you arrive the miners must be protected from the deputies. Allow Sheriff Bowers to pass through your lines as an individual, but not with armed deputies."
In explanation he said: "The militia has gone there to restore the peace. If the sheriff goes to make wholesale arrests at this time, with armed deputies, he will precipitate trouble. I will never allow that, and that is why I sent that dispatch to General Brooks."
The miners had telegraphed the governor that they would surrender to the militia but not to the deputies.
Some of the horses in the deputies' camp got away during Wednesday night and the scouts under Captain Bramlett went after them about nine o'clock the next morning. When near to the end of Grassy Valley, in the midst of which the camp is pitched, the pickets of the miners, camped on the ridge of the foot-hills below Bull Mountain, opened fire on the mounted scouts. They were about 700 yards apart. A lively skirmish ensued, but the only casualty was the shooting off of a miner's thumb. The deputies were getting closer to the miners and they state that they were preparing to dislodge them from the shelter when Commander Veatch ordered a retreat on the part of the deputies. About 100 shots were exchanged. One shot was fired from the cannon. The rank and file of the deputies were extremely eager for a fight and it was all that their leaders could do to restrain them during the day. The miners seemed equally ready for a brush.
It was about 3:00 in the afternoon when the first detachment of the state troops left the Midland stage road and marched over the sodden prairie by Gillett and through the camp of the deputies. The troops pitched their tents on Beaver Park, between the two belligerent camps, with guns unlimbered and rifles ready to open fire on either deputies or miners if one attempted a hostile move aginst the other. The guards were grateful in a military way that their hard journey was over.
The leaders of the deputies, by request of General Brooks, called in such of their scouts as faced the miners' pickets and were replaced by guardsmen. This was done to prevent any desultory shooting during the night.
Just what was to be done Friday was not known. It is probable that Brooks and Tarsney will call on the miners to surrender Bull Hill in the morning.
Sheriff Bowers stated that he would go to Bull Hill in the morning to serve thirty odd warrants he has for the arrest of the miners for various offenses. He said he would be accompanied by some of his men and by a detachment of militia. The sheriff said from what he had learned within the last few days he did not anticipate any trouble.
Governor Waite at Denver reiterated his determination not to allow any sheriff's posse to make arrests as it would be certain to precipitate a fight.
Peace reigned through Altman and the neighboring military camps Thursday night. Most of the miners had laid aside their arms, thinking that the war was over. They had a serious scare, however, in the middle of the forenoon. The deputies started for Bull Hill with the expressed intention of capturing it. They marched past the militia and no opposition was made. One division turned to the right and marched across the valley to Iron Clad mountain, which leads by a sharp incline to the northern entrance to Altman and the main fort. Another division made towards Cheyenne canon, which forms the most passable road to Victor and the southern part of the fortifications. The two divisions marched on and reached the foothills where the miners pickets were stationed until the previous night. As soon as General Brooks found what was taking place he ordered the militia after the deputies with the intention of preventing them from attacking Bull Hill. The troops advanced on the double quick. When General Brooks reached the head of the deputies' column he called upon the men to halt and said:
"Get back to camp, everyone of you," he began. "I am in command here and you have broken faith with me already. So you must face right around and return to where you come from. I have here an order from Sheriff Bowers, which tells you to go back."
The fire-eating deputies looked at one another and then began a tumultuous consultation. No one man appeared to be in command and from all sides came a volley of orders, advices and expostulations. To words of expostulation, General Brooks gave the simple answer that they must obey. The national guard was now abreast of the county officers and halted close to their lines. The deputies did not hesitate any longer, but upon an order from some one wheeled around on their tracks and began the journey back to Gillett.
Many of the deputies showed great resentment at being ordered back to camp and tore off their badges in anger. Quite a number left camp that night to return to Colorado Springs, and it was thought that most of the deputies would be dismissed the next day.
While the deputies were returning to their camp some of the militiamen hissed them, but ceased when General Brooks threatened them with the guard house.
While the deputies were advancing toward Altman the miners were getting ready for a fight. They appeared from all quarterss upon the signal being given. There was a great panic among the women and children who had returned to the camp. Great relief was felt when the deputies were turned back.
General Brooks and Adjutant General Tarsney went up to Altman in the afternoon to confer with the leaders of the miners.
General Brooks wanted the assurance that the miners would remain quiet and disturb no one, and that all the men in camp for whom warrants had been issued would be turned over to the sheriff under an escort from the militia, which would accompany them to Colorado Springs. All the guarantees required were given.
Later in the day the militia appeared in Altman and encamped near by. They were received with open arms by the citizens who hailed them as deliverers.
General Brooks stated that Sheriff Bowers would visit the camp the next day and serve his warrants. The militia would then take the prisoners to Colorado Springs.
It was said that nearly all the leaders had left the camp and that the sheriff would find few of the men he wanted.