Thursday, March 31, 2016
Arthur Guy Empey was a member of the US Cavalry who resigned to volunteer for the British Army during World War One. He was wounded during the Battle of the Somme. When the US entered the war, he tried to rejoin the US Army, but was rejected because of his wounds and possibly because of some disparaging comments about American draftees. He wrote a book, Over the Top, about his experiences during the war. With the 100th anniversary of the war, I thought it might be interesting to post his story. Empey later became a prolific pulp magazine author, a movie star and producer, and a playwright.
"Old Pepper" was a general first mentioned back in CHAPTER IV -- Into the Trench. Jack Johnson was an African-American boxer who had been heavyweight champion. I don't know which Ananias Empey refers to.
From "Tommy's Dictionary of the Trenches" by Empey:
"Jack Johnson." A seventeen-inch German shell. Probably
called "Jack Johnson" because the Germans thought thatwith it they could lick the world.
R. E.'s. Royal Engineers.
CHAPTER I -- From Mufti to Khaki
CHAPTER II -- Blighty to Rest Billets
CHAPTER III -- I Go to Church
CHAPTER IV -- Into the Trench
CHAPTER V -- Mud, Rats and Shells
CHAPTER VI -- "Back of the Line"
CHAPTER VII -- Rations
BATTERY D 238
THE day after this I received the glad tidings that I would occupy the machine-gunners' dugout right near the advanced artillery observation post. This dugout was a roomy affair, dry as tinder, and real cots in it. These cots had been made by the R. E.'s who had previously occupied the dugout. I was the first to enter and promptly made a sign board with my name and number on it and suspended it from the foot of the most comfortable cot therein.
In the trenches, it is always "first come, first served," and this is lived up to by all.
Two R. F. A. men (Royal Field Artillery) from the nearby observation post were allowed the privilege of stopping in this dugout while off duty.
One of these men, Bombadier Wilson by name, who belonged to Battery D 238, seemed to take a liking to me, and I returned this feeling.
In two days' time we were pretty chummy, and he told me how his battery in the early days of the war had put over a stunt on Old Pepper, and had gotten away with it.
I will endeavor to give the story as far as memory will permit in his own words:
"I came out with the First Expeditionary Force, and like all the rest, thought we would have the enemy licked in jig time, and be able to eat Christmas dinner at home. Well, so far, I have eaten two Christmas dinners in the trenches, and am liable to eat two more, the way things are pointing. That is, if Fritz don't drop a 'whizzbang' on me, and send me to Blighty. Sometimes I wish I would get hit, because it's no great picnic out here, and twenty-two months of it makes you fed up.
"It's fairly cushy now compared to what it used to be, although I admit this trench is a trifle rough. Now, we send over five shells to their one. We are getting our own back, but in the early days it was different. Then you had to take everything without a reply. In fact, we would get twenty shells in return for every one we sent over. Fritz seemed to enjoy it, but we British didn't, we were the sufferers. Just one casualty after another. Sometimes whole platoons would disappear, especially when a 'Jack Johnson' plunked into their middle. It got so bad, that a fellow, when writing home, wouldn't ask for any cigarettes to be sent out, because he was afraid he wouldn't be there to receive them.
"After the drive to Paris was turned back, trench warfare started. Our General grabbed a map, drew a pencil line across it, and said, 'Dig here,' then he went back to his tea, and Tommy armed himself with a pick and shovel, and started digging. He's been digging ever since.
"Of course, we dug those trenches at night, but it was hot work what with the rifle and machine-gun fire. The stretcher-bearers worked harder than the diggers.
"Those trenches, bloomin' ditches, I call them, were a nightmare. They were only about five feet deep, and you used to get the backache from bending down. It wasn't exactly safe to stand upright either, because as soon as your napper showed over the top, a bullet would bounce off it, or else come so close it would make your hair stand.
"We used to fill sandbags and stick them on top of the parapet to make it higher, but no use, they would be there about an hour, and then Fritz would turn loose and blow them to bits. My neck used to be sore from ducking shells and bullets.
"Where my battery was stationed, a hasty trench had been dug, which the boys nicknamed 'Suicide Ditch,' and believe me, Yank, this was the original 'Suicide Ditch.' All the others are imitations.
"When a fellow went into that trench, it was an even gamble that he would come out on a stretcher. At one time, a Scotch battalion held it, and when they heard the betting was even money that they'd come out on stretchers, they grabbed all the bets in sight. Like a lot of bally idiots several of the battery men fell for their game, and put up real money. The 'Jocks' suffered a lot of casualties, and the prospects looked bright for the battery men to collect some easy money. So when the battalion was relieved, the gamblers lined up. Several 'Jocks' got their money for emerging safely, but the ones who clicked it, weren't there to pay. The artillerymen had never thought it out that way. Those Scotties were bound to be sure winners, no matter how the wind blew. So take a tip from me, never bet with a Scottie, 'cause you'll lose money.
"At one part of our trench where a communication trench joined the front line, a Tommy had stuck up a wooden sign-post with three hands or arms on it. One of the hands pointing to the German lines read, 'To Berlin,' the one pointing down the communication trench read, 'To Blighty,' while the other said, 'Suicide Ditch, Change Here for Stretchers.'
"Farther down from this guide post the trench ran through an old orchard. On the edge of this orchard our battery had constructed an advanced observation post. The trees screened it from the enemy airmen and the roof was turfed. It wasn't cushy like ours, no timber or concrete reinforcements, just walls and roof of sandbags. From it, a splendid view of the German lines could be obtained. This post wasn't exactly safe. It was a hot corner, shells plunking all around, and the bullets cutting leaves off the trees. Many a time when relieving the signaler at the 'phone, I had to crawl on my belly like a worm to keep from being hit.
"It was an observation post sure enough. That's all the use it was. Just observe all day, but never a message back for our battery to open up. You see, at this point of the line there were strict orders not to fire a shell, unless specially ordered to do so from Brigade Headquarters. Blime me, if anyone disobeyed that command, our General—yes, it was Old Pepper,—would have courtmartialed the whole Expeditionary Force. Nobody went out of their way to disobey Old Pepper in those days, because he couldn't be called a parson; he was more like a pirate. If at any time the devil should feel lonely, and sigh for a proper mate, Old Pepper would get the first call. Facing the Germans wasn't half bad compared with an interview with that old firebrand.
"If a company or battalion should give way a few yards against a superior force of Boches, Old Pepper would send for the commanding officer. In about half an hour the officer would come back with his face the color of a brick, and in a few hours, what was left of his command, would be holding their original position.
"I have seen an officer, who wouldn't say' damn' for a thousand quid, spend five minutes with the old boy, and when he returned, the flow of language from his lips would make a navvy blush for shame.
"What I am going to tell you is how two of us put it over on the old scamp, and got away with it. It was a risky thing, too, because Old Pepper wouldn't have been exactly mild with us if he had got next to the game. "Me and my mate, a lad named Harry Cassell, a Bombadier in D 238 Battery, or Lance-Corporal, as you call it in the infantry, used to relieve the telephonists. We would do two hours on and four off. I would be on duty in the advanced observation post, while he would be at the other end of the wire in the battery dugout signaling station. We were supposed to send through orders for the battery to fire when ordered to do so by the observation officer in the advanced post. But very few messages were sent. It was only in case of an actual attack that we would get a chance to earn our 'two and six' a day. You see, Old Pepper had issued orders not to fire except when the orders came from him. And with Old Pepper orders is orders, and made to obey.
"The Germans must have known about these orders, for even in the day their transports and troops used to expose themselves as if they were on parade. This sure got up our nose, sitting there day after day, with fine targets in front of us but unable to send over a shell. We heartily cussed Old Pepper, his orders, the government, the people at home, and everything in general. But the Boches didn't mind cussing, and got very careless. Blime me, they were bally insulting. Used to, when using a certain road, throw their caps into the air as a taunt at our helplessness.
"Cassell had been a telegrapher in civil life and joined up when war was declared. As for me, I knew Morse, learned it at the Signaler's School back in 1910. With an officer in the observation post, we could not carry on the kind of conversation that's usual between two mates, so we used the Morse code. To send, one of us would tap the transmitter with his finger nails, and the one on the other end would get it through the receiver. Many an hour was whiled away in this manner passing compliments back and forth.
"In the observation post, the officer used to sit for hours with a powerful pair of field glasses to his eyes. Through a cleverly concealed loophole he would scan the ground behind the German trenches, looking for targets, and finding many. This officer, Captain A by name, had a habit of talking out loud to himself. Sometimes he would vent his opinion, same as a common private does when he's wrought up. Once upon a time the Captain had been on Old Pepper's staff, so he could cuss and blind in the most approved style. Got to be sort of a habit with him.
"About six thousand yards from us, behind the German lines, was a road in plain view of our post. For the last three days, Fritz had brought companies of troops down this road in broad daylight. They were never shelled. Whenever this happened, the Captain would froth at the mouth and let out a volume of Old Pepper's religion which used to make me love him.
"Every battery has a range chart on which distinctive landmarks are noted, with the range for each. These landmarks are called targets, and are numbered. On our battery's chart, that road was called 'Target Seventeen, Range 6000, three degrees, thirty minutes left.' D 238 Battery consisted of four '4.5' howitzers, and fired a thirty-five pound H. E. shell. As you know, H. E. means 'high explosive.' I don't like bumming up my own battery, but we had a record in the Division for direct hits, and our boys were just pining away for a chance to exhibit their skill in the eyes of Fritz.
"On the afternoon of the fourth day of Fritz's contemptuous use of the road mentioned, the Captain and I were at our posts as usual. Fritz was strafeing us pretty rough, just like he's doing now. The shells were playing leapfrog all through that orchard.
"I was carrying on a conversation in our 'tap' code with Cassell at the other end. It ran something like this:
"'Say, Cassell, how would you like to be in the saloon bar of the King's Arms down Rye Lane with a bottle of Bass in front of you, and that blonde barmaid waiting to fill 'em up again?'
"Cassell had a fancy for that particular blonde. The answer came back in the shape of a volley of cusses. I changed the subject.
"After awhile our talk veered round to the way the Boches had been exposing themselves on the road known on the chart as Target Seventeen. What we said about those Boches would never have passed the Reichstag, though I believe it would have gone through our Censor easily enough.
"The bursting shells were making such a din that I packed up talking and took to watching the Captain. He was fidgeting around on an old sandbag with the glass to his eye. Occasionally he would let out a grunt, and make some remark I couldn't hear on account of the noise, but I guessed what it was all right. Fritz was getting fresh again on that road.
"Cassell had been sending in the 'tap code' to me, but I was fed up and didn't bother with it. Then he sent O. S., and I was all attention, for this was a call used between us which meant that something important was on. I was all ears in an instant. Then Cassell turned loose.
'"You blankety blank dud, I have been trying to raise you for fifteen minutes. What's the matter, are you asleep?' (Just as if anyone could have slept in that infernal racket!) 'Never mind framing a nasty answer. Just listen.'
"'Are you game for putting something over on the Boches, and Old Pepper all in one?'
"I answered that I was game enough when it came to putting it over the Boches, but confessed that I had a weakening of the spine, even at the mention of Old Pepper's name.
"He came back with, 'It's so absurdly easy and simple that there is no chance of the old heathen rumbling it. Anyway, if we're caught, I'll take the blame.'
"Under those conditions I told him to spit out his scheme. It was so daring and simple that it took my breath away. This is what he proposed:
"If the Boches should use that road again, to send by the tap system the target and range. I had previously told him about our Captain talking out loud as if he were sending through orders. Well, if this happened, I was to send the dope to Cassell and he would transmit it to the Battery Commander as officially coming through the observation post. Then the battery would open up. Afterwards, during the investigation, Cassell would swear he received it direct. They would have to believe him, because it was impossible from his post in the battery dugout to know that the road was being used at that time by the Germans. And also it was impossible for him to give the target, range, and degrees. You know a battery chart is not passed around among the men like a newspaper from Blighty. From him, the investigation would go to the observation post, and the observing officer could truthfully swear that I had not sent the message by 'phone, and that no orders to fire had been issued by him. The investigators would then be up in the air, we would be safe, the Boches would receive a good bashing, and we would get our own back on Old Pepper. It was too good to be true. I gleefully fell in with the scheme, and told Cassell I was his meat.
"Then I waited with beating heart, and watched the Captain like a hawk.
"He was beginning to fidget again and was drumming on the sandbags with his feet. At last, turning to me, he said:
"'Wilson, this army is a blankety blank washout. What's the use of having artillery if it is not allowed to fire? The government at home ought to be hanged with some of their red tape. It's through them that we have no shells.'
"I answered, 'Yes sir,' and started sending this opinion over the wire to Cassell, but the Captain interrupted me with:
"'Keep those infernal fingers still. What's the matter, getting the nerves? When I'm talking to you, pay attention.'
"My heart sank. Supposing he had rumbled that tapping, then all would be up with our plan. I stopped drumming with my fingers, and said:
"'Beg your pardon, sir, just a habit with me.'
"'And a damned silly one, too,' he answered, turning to his glasses again, and I knew I was safe. He had not tumbled to the meaning of that tapping.
"All at once, without turning round, he exclaimed:
"'Well, of all the nerve I've ever run across, this takes the cake. Those — — Boches are using that road again. Blind my eyes, this time it is a whole Brigade of them, transports and all. What a pretty target for our '4.5's.' The beggars know we won't fire. A damned shame I call it. Oh, just for a chance to turn D 238 loose on them.'
"I was trembling with excitement. From repeated stolen glances at the Captain's range chart, that road with its range was burned into my mind.
"Over the wire I tapped, 'D 238 Battery, Target Seventeen, Range 6000, three degrees, thirty minutes, left, Salvo, Fire.' Cassell O. K.'d my message, and with the receiver pressed against my ear, I waited and listened. In a couple of minutes very faintly over the wire came the voice of our Battery Commander issuing the order: 'D 238 Battery. Salvo! Fire!'
"Then a roar through the receiver as the four guns belched forth, a screaming and whistling overhead, and the shells were on their way.
"The Captain jumped as if he were shot, and let out a great big expressive Damn, and eagerly turned his glasses in the direction of the German road. I also strained my eyes watching that target. Four black clouds of dust rose up right in the middle of the German column. Four direct hits—another record for D 238.
"The shells kept on whistling overhead, and I had counted twenty-four of them when the firing suddenly ceased. When the smoke and dust clouds lifted, the destruction on that road was awful. Overturned limbers and guns, wagons smashed up, troops fleeing in all directions. The road and roadside were spotted all over with little field gray dots, the toll of our guns.
"The Captain, in his excitement, had slipped off the sandbag, and was on his knees in the mud, the glass still at his eye. He was muttering to himself and slapping his thigh with his disengaged hand. At every slap a big round juicy cuss word would escape from his lips followed by:
'"Good, Fine,—Marvelous, Pretty Work, Direct Hits, All.'
"Then he turned to me and shouted:
"'Wilson, what do you think of it? Did you ever see the like of it in your life? Damn fine work, I call it.'
"Pretty soon a look of wonder stole over his face, and he exclaimed:
"'But who in hell gave them the order to fire. Range and everything correct, too. I know I didn't. Wilson, did I give you any order for the Battery to open up? Of course, I didn't, did I?'
"I answered very emphatically, 'No, sir, you gave no command. Nothing went through this post. I am absolutely certain on that point, sir.'
"'Of course nothing went through,' he replied. Then his face fell, and he muttered out loud:
"'But, by Jove, wait till Old Pepper gets wind of this. There'll be fur flying.'
"Just then Bombadier Cassell cut in on the wire:
"'General's compliments to Captain A . He directs that officer and signaler report at the double to Brigade Headquarters as soon as relieved. Relief is now on the way.'
"In an undertone to me, 'Keep a brass front, Wilson, and for God's sake, stick.' I answered with, 'Rely on me, mate,' but I was trembling all over.
"I gave the General's message to the Captain, and started packing up.
"The relief arrived, and as we left the post the Captain said:
"'Now for the fireworks, and I know they'll be good and plenty.' They were.
"When we arrived at the gun pits, the Battery Commander, the Sergeant-Major, and Cassell were waiting for us. We fell in line and the funeral march to Brigade Headquarters started.
"Arriving at Headquarters the Battery Commander was the first to be interviewed. This was behind closed doors. From the roaring and explosions of Old Pepper it sounded as if raw meat was being thrown to the lions. Cassell, later, described it as sounding like a bombing raid. In about two minutes the officer reappeared. The sweat was pouring from his forehead, and his face was the color of a beet. He was speechless. As he passed the Captain he jerked his thumb in the direction of the lion's den and went out. Then the Captain went in, and the lions were once again fed. The Captain stayed about twenty minutes and came out. I couldn't see his face, but the droop in his shoulders was enough. He looked like a wet hen.
"The door of the General's room opened, and Okf Pepper stood in the doorway. With a roar he shouted:
"'Which one of you is Cassell? Damn me, get your heels together when I speak! Come in here!'
"Cassell started to say, 'Yes, sir.'
"But Old Pepper roared, 'Shut up!'
"Cassell came out in five minutes. He said nothing, but as he passed me, he put his tongue into his cheek and winked, then turning to the closed door, he stuck his thumb to his nose and left.
"Then the Sergeant-Major's turn came. He didn't come out our way. Judging by the roaring, Old Pepper must have eaten him.
"When the door opened, and the General beckoned to me, my knees started to play Home, Sweet Home against each other.
"My interview was very short.
"Old Pepper glared at me when I entered, and then let loose.
"'Of course you don't know anything about it. You're just like the rest. Ought to have a nursing bottle around your neck, and a nipple in your teeth. Soldiers, by gad, you turn my stomach to look at you. Win this war, when England sends out such samples as I have in my Brigade! Not likely! Now, sir, tell me what you don't know about this affair. Speak up, out with it. Don't be gaping at me like a fish. Spit it out.'
"I stammered, 'Sir, I know absolutely nothing.'
'"That's easy to see,' he roared; 'that stupid face tells me that. Shut up. Get out; but I think you are a damned liar just the same. Back to your battery.'
"I saluted and made my exit.
"That night the Captain sent for us. With fear and trembling we went to his dugout. He was alone. After saluting, we stood at attention in front of him and waited. His say was short.
"'Don't you two ever get it into your heads that Morse is a dead language. I've known it for years. The two of you had better get rid of that nervous habit of tapping transmitters; it's dangerous. That's all.'
"We saluted, and were just going out the door of the dugout when the Captain called us back, and said:
'"Smoke Goldflakes? Yes? Well there are two tins of them on my table. Go back to the battery, and keep your tongues between your teeth. Understand?'
"For five weeks afterwards our battery did nothing but extra fatigues. We were satisfied and so were the men. It was worth it to put one over on Old Pepper, to say nothing of the injury caused to Fritz's feelings."
When Wilson had finished his story I looked up, and the dugout was jammed. An artillery Captain and two officers had also entered and stayed for the finish. Wilson spat out an enormous quid of tobacco, looked up, saw the Captain, and got as red as a carnation. The Captain smiled and left. Wilson whispered to me:
"Blime me, Yank, I see where I click for crucifixion. That Captain is the same one that chucked us the Goldflakes in his dugout and here I have been 'chucking me weight about in his hearing.'"
Wilson never clicked his crucifixion.
Quite a contrast to Wilson was another character in our Brigade named Scott, we called him "Old Scotty" on account of his age. He was fifty-seven, although looking forty. "Old Scotty" had been born in the Northwest and had served with the Northwest Mounted Police. He was a typical cow-puncher and Indian fighter and was a dead shot with the rifle, and took no pains to disguise this fact from us. He used to take care of his rifle as if it were a baby. In his spare moments you could always see him cleaning it or polishing the stock. Woe betide the man, who by mistake, happened to get hold of this rifle; he soon found out his error. Scott was as deaf as a mule, and it was amusing at parade to watch him in the manual of arms, slyly glancing out of the corner of his eye at the man next to him to see what the order was. How he passed the doctor was a mystery to us, he must have bluffed his way through, because he certainly was independent. Beside him the Fourth of July looked like Good Friday. He wore at the time a large sombrero, had a Mexican stock saddle over his shoulder, a lariat on his arm, and a "forty-five" hanging from his hip. Dumping this paraphernalia on the floor he went up to the recruiting officer and shouted: "I'm from America, west of the Rockies, and want to join your damned army. I've got no use for a German and can shoot some. At Scotland Yard they turned me down; said I was deaf and so I am. I don't hanker to ship in with a damned mud crunching outfit, but the cavalry's full, so I guess this regiment's better than none, so trot out your papers and I'll sign 'em." He told them he was forty and slipped by. I was on recruiting service at the time he applied for enlistment.
It was Old Scotty's great ambition to be a sniper or "body snatcher" as Mr. Atkins calls it. The day that he was detailed as Brigade Sniper, he celebrated his appointment by blowing the whole platoon to fags.
Being a Yank, Old Scotty took a liking to me and used to spin some great yarns about the plains, and the whole platoon would drink these in and ask for more. Ananias was a rookie compared with him.
The ex-plainsman and discipline could not agree, but the officers all liked him, even if he was hard to manage, so when he was detailed as a sniper, a sigh of relief went up from the officers' mess.
Old Scotty had the freedom of the Brigade. He used to draw two or three days' rations and disappear with his glass, range finder, and rifle, and we would see or hear no more of him, until suddenly he would reappear with a couple of notches added to those already on the butt of his rifle. Every time he got a German it meant another notch. He was proud of these notches.
But after a few months Father Rheumatism got him and he was sent to Blighty; the air in the wake of his stretcher was blue with curses. Old Scotty surely could swear; some of his outbursts actually burned you.
No doubt, at this writing he is "somewhere in Blighty" pussy footing it on a bridge or along the wall of some munition plant with the "G. R." or Home Defence Corps.
Next: CHAPTER XVII -- Out In Front
Monday, March 28, 2016
100 years ago, on Easter Monday, 1916, the Irish Volunteers and members of the Irish Citizen Army and the Cumann na mBan rose up against the British occupation in Dublin and declared the Irish Republic. The British stopped them and executed their leaders. This heavy-handed response led to increased support for Irish independence.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016
The 25-March-1916 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.
"Old Alsatian women, who recalls previous ward, greeting friend soldier after a recent victory. Pathe News." In 1871, Germany annexed the Alsace-Lorraine from France. In World War One, it went back and forth a few times. At the end of the war, France kept it.
"Boys join in scientific baking at Lane Technical High School, Chicago. Hearst-Vitagraph." Lane Technical High School, founded in 1908, now serves as a magnet school. Girls began attending in 1971.
"Steam fishing smack arrives in Boston covered with ice. Hearst-Vitagraph." Smacks were common fishing boats on the east coast.
"A speeder in the winder motor boat regatta at Miami, Florida. Mutual Weekly, No. 63." I can't find reports about the 1916 regatta. It may have been organized by Carl G Fisher.
|Collier's Magazine, 28-October-1911|
One hundred years ago today, on 25-March-1916, A native American called Ishi, the last of his tribe, called the Yani, died in San Francisco, where he had been living since he was found in 1911. He had been hiding since a massacre about 1865 had killed most of his tribe. This article is from the 26-March-1916 Arizona Republican.
LAST OF YAHI STONE-AGE TRIBE
COULDN'T STAND CIVILIZATION
[Republican A. P. Leased Wire]
SAN FRANCISCO, March 25. Ishi, last of the Yahi stone-age tribe of Indians, which once flourished in California, east of the Sacramento, whose "discovery" in 1911 near Oroville, Cal., resulted in his adoption by savants of the University of California as a valuable anthropological acquisition, died here today from tuberculosis, possibly brought on by the interruption of his primitive outdoor life.
Since shortly after his appearance, hungry and almost naked, in Oroville, Ishi was maintained as a living exhibit in the Affiliated Colleges Museum in San Francisco, where he kindled fires by rubbing sticks together, fashioned arrow heads, and exhibited prowess in other primitive exploits, for the entertainment and instruction of thousands of visitors.
Ishi died nameless, for "Ishi," in the language of his vanished tribe, meant man, and was given him by scholars associated with him in 1911. He was about 60 years old and had been bed-ridden only a week. His effects will not be cremated with his body, as was the custom of his people but will be preserved at the museum where he spent his last years.
According to a history of the Yahi tribe compiled by Prof. T. T. Waterman of the University of California, who was a close friend and observer of Ishi, and who identified the half-starved supposed "wild man" as the possible last survivor of his race, Ishi was one of a small party of Yahis who fled into the hills east of the Sacramento river in 1S65 after their band had been almost exterminated by a party of armed whites.
Evidences of the survival of four of the Yahis was found in 1908. According to Professor Waterman, at this time they were using the bow and arrow and other aboriginal tools and appliances and knew nothing of the usages of civilization.
Ishi told museum scientists that all his companions had died before he ventured across the border of civilization.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016
The 18-March-1916 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.
"Double wreck on New Haven railroad at Milford, Conn. Mutual Weekly." Ten people were killed by a rear-end collision and boiler explosion on the New Haven Railroad on 22-February-1916.
"Frank Chance, manager of Los Angeles ball team, photographed on his farm. Hearst-Vitagraph." Frank Chance, the Peerless Leader, a native of California, had been the first baseman in the Chicago Cubs' famous double play combination of Tinker to Evers to Chance. In 1916, he was manager of the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League.
"Canadian troops in maneuvers near Winnipeg before leaving for front. Hearst-Vitagraph." I have mentioned before that Canadian soldiers played a critical role on the Western Front.
"Subway halted for hours while rain is pumped from tracks, New York. Universal." Heavy rain on 04-March-1916 flooded the subway tracks.
"American and Mexican health officers disinfect Mexican emigrants. Selig-Tribune." On 02-March-1916, the US Public Health Service reported cases of typhus in El Paso, Texas. Mexican emigrants from Chihuahua were turned back at the international bridge because they had smallpox.
"Waiting in the trenches at Souchez, France, for call to battle. Pathe." Souchez is in northern France.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.
The 20-March-1937 Liberty featured an article on "Hollywood's Income-Tax Jitters." In 1936, the rate on the top bracket, $5,000,000 was 79%. Some day perhaps we can get more people to pay their fair share.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
On 09-March-1916, troops from Pancho Villa's Division of the North attacked the border town of Columbus, New Mexico. Soldiers from the US 13th Cavalry were stationed near the town at Camp Furlong fought back and chased the raiders away, but not before they killed ten civilians and eight soldiers and burned the town:
On 15-March-1916 the United States launched a Punitive Expedition into Mexico to capture or kill Villa. The commander was General John J Pershing. The expedition marked the first use of airplanes and automobiles by the US Army in the field. General Frederick Funston had been Commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco at the time of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Venustiano Carranza was the leader of the Constitutionlists during the Mexican Revolution and President under the new constitution in 1917. General Gabriel Gavira Castro fought on the side fo the Constitutionlists. General Álvaro Obregón was later President of Mexico. Plutarco Elías Calles who President of Mexico after Obregón. General Henry Pinckney McCain was Adjutant General of the United States Army.
This article is from the 16-March-1916 Bisbee, Arizona Daily Review.
AMERICAN SOLDIERS CROSS THE MEXICAN BORDER AT TWO DIFFERENT LOCATIONS
Carranza Men Join Those of Uncle Sam Near Palomas For Chase of Noted Bandit
How Far the Column of Soldiers Had Reached by Evening Was Not Known at Headquarters.
FEAR OF RESISTANCE DISPELLED BY ENTRY
Pershing Enters Country with Orders to "Kill or Capture" Villa and his Operations Will Not Be Restricted.
SAN ANTONIO. March 15. -- General Pershing and practically his entire command crossed the border at Columbus at noon today, Funston announced late this afternoon. A few minor detachments remained behind but will follow quickly. The Carranza troops joined forces with the American troops and accompanied them.
How far into Mexico the column reached tonight is unknown here. Not until after Friday are developments expected. Colonel Dodd, heading a smaller column, entered Mexico west of Columbus also moving in a southerly direction. The two forces will be in touch before the end of the week. By that time it is expected the infantry support will hold the line of communication along which the motor trucks are transporting ammunition and supplies.
Pershing's report of the entrance into Mexico dispelled to a great extent, the fears entertained in some quarters that resistance would be offered the troops by the de facto government. Colonel Bertani, commanding the Carranza garrison at Palomas, joined Pershing with 400 men, and is reported as showing great eagerness to join the chase. A number of Mexicans are employed as scouts by Pershing.
Pershing has gone to Mexico with orders to wipe out the Villa organization. Unless orders to the contrary are received from those higher in authority than General Funston, the campaign will continue until Villa is killed or captured. No limits have been placed on the field operations of more than 20,000 troops. Bands affiliated with Villa in other parts of Mexico have not indicated their intentions, but brisk activity on their part would be no surprise to American officers who expect they will have to be engaged from time to time.
CHICAGO, March 15. -- Reports from various army recruiting stations, throughout the United States, indicated a big increase in the number of applicants for enlistment since the President ordered troops Into Mexico. Banners inscribed "Help Catch Villa." will be used in recruiting work here.
Dispatches from the Central and Western states showed that recruiting had increased and that in response to orders from army headquarters many branch recruiting stations are being opened.
Advices from New York stated the border trouble resulted in an immediate increase of recruiting.
Atlanta, Georgia, reports a sixty per cent increase. The applications at Philadelphia doubled.
EMBARGO ON ARMS.
WASHINGTON. March 15. -- At the request of the State department an order was sent to collector of customs at Seaports of the United States and along the Mexican border to hold up the shipment of arms, ammunition, and explosives to Mexico, except when it was clearly established it was for the use of the de facto government.
The order is said to be the outcome of information reaching the department of a large consignment of explosives intended for the Villa forces to be sent south. Officials tonight refursed to discuss the subject, but there is reason to believe there is some credence to be placed in the recent reports that friends of certain European nations had been willing to put munitions of war at the disposal of Villa.
PROTECT ROOSEVELT DAM.
PHOENIX, March 15. -- The United States Reclamation service asked Governor Hunt to supply a detail of militamen to guard the Roosevelt Dam. Hunt promised aid. He suggested the arming of 30 government employes to be stationed at the dam. It is reported the Mexicans employed near the dam
are former Villa soldiers.
WILL COOPERATE WITH FORCES OF U. S.
Gavira Receives Orders from Obregon to Work in Full Harmony with Commanders of the Army of U. S.
JUAREZ, March 15. General Gavira, the Carranza commander here, said he received instructions from General Obregon, Minister of War, to order all troops in his district to cooperate in every way with the American expeditionary force. Juarez is quiet on the surface. Americans met with insults in some parts of the town. There is evidence of a strong undercurrent of hostility towards the United States.
About 1,000 troops are confined to the barracks and are forbidden to frequent saloons. Nothing stronger than beer is sold. The statement late today of General Gavira said: "My soldiers are absolutely loyal. There is no danger of any outbreak in this section."
In spite of General Gavira's assurrances, it was plainly visible that the American residents were uneasy and most of them are spending the nights on the American side. Expressions of hostility thus far have been confined to the civilian population. The street cars are running between Juarez and El Paso.
DESTROYER TO ENSENADA
SAN DIEGO. March 15. -- The destroyer Stewart will leave here at midnight for Ensenada under orders from Admiral Winslow, commander of the Pacific fleet, following instructions he received from the Navy Deprtmentment. This action follows reports brought here that the fishermen threatened to revolt on the garrison there.
The masters of a fishing vessel declare that Ensenada is a Villa hotbed, and say trouble is feared there with the news of American troops crossing the Mexican line. The Stewart hurriedly took supplies. A high naval officer admitted the destroyer was being sent to the Lower California towns to investigate but refused to say that reports of trouble were received. The garrison at Ensenada, so far as is known, never pledged its loyalty to either faction in Mexico. The troops under the command of Estaban Cantu, military governor of Lower California, are recently reported to have espoused the cause of Carranza.
FIRE ON AMERICANS.
BROWNSVILLE. March 15. -- About thirty Mexican bandits fired at sixteen American soIdler8 guarding a bridge and railroad fourteen miles north of Brownsville. A hundred shots were exchanged. No Americans were injured. It is not known if the bandits suffered. Railway guards have been increased.
FOR ARMY INCREASE.
WASHINGTON. March 15. -- The Senate concurred in the House a resolution providing regular army increase to approximately 120,000 fighting troops. There was little debate and the 69 senators in session voted unanimously for the resolution. Adjutant General McCain had acted without waiting finai passage of the resolution under orders wired last night and recruiting officers all over the United States which had been closed for months were reopened. Before the Senate voted several hundred men were already enrolled.
Alkali Dust Marks Start of U. S. Troops From Spot of the Recent Villa Attack
Column of Cavalry and Infantry Leaves Columbus Just as East Bound Golden State Comes Into Station.
LITTLE CHEERING FOR DEPARTING SOLDIERS
Thirteenth Cavalry, Sixth and Seventh Infantry, with a Corps of Engineers Make-up First Known Move
EL PASO, March 15. -- (Special) -- A long trail of yellow alkali dust, hanging over the skyline, marked the trail of the United States troops into Mexico at Columbus and Palomas at noon today, according to American passengers who arrived here on the Golden State Limited tbis afternoon.
The column was moving across the flat, sloping plains just as the train from the west passed through Columbus and, because of the congestion of the troop trains there, the delay gave the passengers an excellent opportunity to watch the movement of the American troops across the border.
A corps of engineers, with all of their engineering equipment, were the first to leave Columbus. Behind them rode the 13th Cavalry, the organization picked by General Pershing for the place of honor because of its baptism of fire at the battle of Columbus, between Villa and the troopers of Col. Slocum's command. The bullet torn regimental colors of the l1th was the head of the column as the troopers swung across the plains and the head of it dipped into ravine just before the Palomas custom house and the line.
Behind the l3th Cavalry marched the 6th and 16th Infantry. Which will keep the line cf communications in between Columbus and the railroad and the border and beyond. As the troops marched toward the line, the little Mexican flag on the Palomas Custom House could be seen waving in the breeze from the rear of the column.
As the first expeditionary force moved into position the wagon trains, pack trains and motor lorries swung in behind and headed due south toward the Mexican border. As these swung in, another line formed from behind the knoll which Villa occupied when he charged down onto the little border town. Troops over the mesquite-covered plains were forming in platoons and forming into an auxiliary division for movement behind the initial crossing.
The train passengers state that there was no cheering, no confusion or excitement. The cavalry troopers cantered out of the little town where they fought the bandits, swung out across the level country which slopes sharply toward Palomas and proceeded in a canter until they were clear of the town and camp when they settled down to a steady swinging cavalry march with the infantry stepping along behind.
Columbus was filled with civilians watching for the crossing and they gave the only cheers that were given for the American soldiers a they marched after Villa. The engineer on the passenger train blew his whistle constantly as a farewell to the troopers and the train pulled out as the colors of the cavalry could be seen waving as a dark patch against the white adobe of the nearest border house.
NOGALES VERY QUIET
NOGALES. March 15 -- News that troops have crossed the border was received quietly here and Mexican Nogales. Knots of people gathered on the streets with no excitement. As soon as the crossing was officially conftrmed, assembly was sounded at military headquarter across the border and 400 men of the garrison were summoned to quarters.
It was explained the Mexican authorities desire to avoid possible friction. Later a pamphlet was distributed to the Mexican by General Calles, military governor of Sonora. containing the declaration of Carranza regarding his negotiations with the United States and Mexico and urging all Mexicans to remain calm. It was learned from sources usually authentic that Carranza troops are being concentrated on the border of Chihuahua and eastern Sonora.
REVOLT AT CABULLONA?
DOUGLA5. March 15. -- Numerous reports were received by military authorities here that open rebellion had broken out among the Carranza troops at Cabullona, 18 miles south of here. The Americans were disturbed and extra precautions were taken to guard the town.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Despite being kind of funny looking, he managed to marry Betty Grable.
Monday, March 14, 2016
From the 15-March-1891 New York Sun. On 15-October-1890, the police chief of New Orleans, David Hennessy, was ambushed by several men and shot. He died the next day. A police captain reported that he said he had been shot by "Dagoes." Authorities assumed it was the result of Mafia feuding. The police rounded up a large number of Italians and 19 were charged with the murder. Nine men were tried in March. Six were found not guilty and the trial of the others was declared a mistrial. A mob attacked the jail, killing 11 of the Italians, hanging and shooting two and shooting the rest. No one was ever charged for the lynching. No one was ever convicted of the murder of the police chief. The jury was probably not tampered with.
On 14-September-1874, the Battle of Liberty place was an uprising by the White Citizens' League against the Reconstruction government of New Orleans. There is currently an effort going on to remove or modify a memorial to that event.
THE PEOPLE A MOB
Eleven Prisoners Lynched in the New Orleans Jail
LED BY LAWYERS AND MERCHANTS
Formed at the Foot of the Statue of Henry Clay
THE POLICE CHEER THE MOB ON
Nine Men Shot Crouching in Prison and Two Hanged
The Lynchers Went Quietly, Headed by 200 Armed Men
SEVEN MEN DID THE SHOOTING
Eleven Prisoners Lynched in the New Orleans Jail
LED BY LAWYERS AND MERCHANTS
Formed at the Foot of the Statue of Henry Clay
THE POLICE CHEER THE MOB ON
Nine Men Shot Crouching in Prison and Two Hanged
The Lynchers Went Quietly, Headed by 200 Armed Men
SEVEN MEN DID THE SHOOTING
Five Thousand Citizens Demanded Vengeance and Denounced the Administration of Justice as Exemplified in the Verdict in the Hennessey Murder Case -- The Authorities Made No Attempt to Protect the Men -- Several Killed Who Had Not Been on Trial -- How Two or Theee, Including the Small Boy, Managed to Escape -- It took only Three-quarters of an Hour to Accomplish the Result -- The Action Approved by the Leading Exchanges -- The Jurymen in the Trial Practically Ostracized.
NEW ORLEANS, March 14 -- A mob extraordinary in size, extraordinary in its make up, extraordinary In its determination, to-day killed 11 of the 19 Italians charged with the murder of Chief of Police Hennessy. It was a mob led by lawyers and merchants men of large wealth and high standing. It was so strong that the authorities made no show of resistance and succumbed before it. Indeed the officers of the law threw up their hats and cheered the mob in its murderous work.
These a the names ot those shot or hanged
When yesterday the jury brought In a verdict of not guilty against six of the Italian on trial and disagreed as to the other three, a howl of indignation was heard. The press unanimously denounced the verdict and declared that the jury been bought. The Grand Jury had already found indictments against two men charged with tampering with the jurors and other indictments were expected. The jurors did not understand the public sentiment and were surprised at the public indignation. Mr Sellgman the foreman, explained that the jury had found its verdict because it did not believe the State witnesses, but his explanation was hailed with derision. The jury stood twelve for the acquittal of Macheca, Enoarcada, Matrazo, the two Marchesis and Bagnetto, and nine to three for the conviction of the others.
Nine of the jurors regarded with suspicion the three dissenting jurors and one of them expressed the opinion that these jurors were bought, for throughout the trial they expressed their intention to bring a verdict of not guilty. The excitement over the verdict reached fever heat by night and three or four secret meetings were held to consider the situation.
The trial of the case had oost the city $30,000 and lasted for over a month and yet none of the prisoners had been convicted. The general feeling was that a new trial would result in the conviction of all the men. Widespread threats were heard and nearly every well-known citizen was approached with the question whether be would join an organization to avenge the law.
Soon alter the assassination of Chief Hennessy a law and order committee was appointed by Mayor Shakespeare to take charge of this case and to investigate the murder and $15,000 was appropriated for that purpose by the City Council. The committee showed a disposition at first to resolve itself into a vigilance committee but better counsel prevailed largely though the Influence of the largely through the influence of the newspapers and the committee agreed to let the law take its course, but with an understanding that in case the law failed they would resort to lynch law.
The committee met yesterday after the verdict. The first proposition was to hold a mass meeting at Clay statue last night but the leaders became convinced that this would have a bad effect, as it would be impossible to control a mob at night, if one should be formed. It would get out of the hands of the men who should lead and become dangerous to the city. A proposition was then made that a body of chosen men should proceed to the parish prison at 2 o'clock in the morning and force open the gates. It was not thought that much resistance would be offered, as only a few deputy sheriffs would be on duty. These were known to be friends of Hennessy who would not resent the mob's intrusion.
Thirty or forty picked men offered their services but it was finally decided that such work might cause bloodshed of innocent citizens and that it was better to act in daylight. A call was then drawn up by E H Farrar, a lawyer and President of the Committee of Law and Order It was short and read a follows:
"All good citizens are invited to attend a mass meetlne oa Stan March 14 at 1 o'clock P. M., at tbe Clay statue to take steps necessary to remedy the failure of justice in the Hennessy case. Come prepared for action."
This call was signed by forty men of high standing In the community, including lawyers, merchants and others. Among the signers was R. T. Liche, Commissioner o Public Works of the city. The meeting at which this plan was decided on was held on Neville street, fifty citizens being present. There were also a large number of guns on hand which the men present were told would be distributed to those who needed them this morning. These guns, it is understood, came from the armory of one of the State militia companies.
After the publication of the call for a mass meeting it was well understood that there would be violence. The men at the head of the movement are men of courage and determination, and it was known that if they went down to the parish prison to take it they would take It at the cost of life. The fact that the call had been issued leaked out last night about midnight and was very generally discussed in the barrooms. At an early hour this morning it was universally conceded that there would be an attack on the prison today and the only question was whether the authorities would make any effort to suppress it and whether the Governor would order out the militia. The Mayor did not detail the police and the Sheriff did not swear in deputies protect the building. If this had been done the capture of the prison would have cost a great many human lives. It is a well-fortified building, capable of being easily protected and fifty men could hold it against a thousand.
A large portion of the men who had promised to go down and capture the prison were members of the militia and it was generally understood this morning that in case the Governor called out the militia to do duty he would find no men ready to serve. It was also known that in case any serious resistance was made at the parish prison the mob had artillery belonging to one of the independent military companies which it could and would use to batter down the gates.
It was also understood that the police would not fight to save the murderers and would welcome their lynching. Finally it was known that the Sheriff either could not or would mot find men who would be willing to act as deputies and that there would be only the usual number of eight or ten men on hand this morning, all of them being friends of Hennessy.
The newspaper this morning denounced the jury but opposed the mass meeting and tried to quiet the mob but it was evident that nothing could stop them and that there would be a lynching of the prisoners or a bloody riot.
FORMING AT CLAY'S STATUE
The Scenes and Speeches Before the Throng Left for the Prison.
The meeting at the Clay statue on Canal street was held promptly at 10. Just as the stroke of that hour was heard a shout went up from the people stationed at St. Charles street, and a number of men among whom were W. S. Parkerson, John O. Wiokliffe and others who signed the call came marching along and began walking around and round the railing of the monument There were fully 3,000 people within earshot, and more could be seen straggling pushing and running toward the spot. Street cars were unable to pass through. Carriages, carts, wagons, cabs and vehicles of all descriptions were halted and all business nearby was suspended.
"Fall in, fall in!" was the cry and with shouts, the procession which went around the railing several times, was swollen.
"Hurrah for Parkerson!"
"Hurrah for Wiokliffe!"
"Get inside the railing and give us a speech!"
Those and other cries made up the confusion of noises. The space inside the railing was occupied by a dense crowd.
"Come down from those steps," was the order and let Mr Parkerson and Mr Wickliffe get there!"
The crowd obeyed sad soon the speaker had the place. A rush was made for the narrow gate and in a minute there stood a packed mass under the statue of Clay. Mr Parkerson was the first speaker. He is a lawyer, the organizer of the Young Men's Democratic movement, an independent organization, which at the late election defeated the regular Democratic party and elected the entire present city government. He is a man of ability, a leader who declined the office of City Attorney when he could have had that or any other office in the gift of the people. He said:
"I am here to say that things have come to such a crisis that talk is idle: action, action must be the thing now. [Tremendous cheers.] In civilized communities tribunals are organized and delegated to punish the guilty. Crimea must meet prompt punishment, but whenever and wherever the courts fail, whenever jurors are recreant to their oaths, and perjurers and suborners are present, then is the time for the people to do what courts and jurors have failed to do. [Cries of 'Hurrah!' 'Go on!' 'Go on!' 'We're with you!'] In a peaceful community an officer of the law was stricken down by a band of midnight assassins; the law has been defied. The time has come when this infamy must cease. Scoundrels must meet with punishment. Murderers must receive their deserts. The jury has failed. Now, the people have to act. I ask you, citizens of New Orleans, whether we shall suffer this Infamous condition of affairs any longer. [Cries of No! no!'] I ask you to consider fairly and calmly, what is to be done. Shall it be action? [Cries. 'Yes, let's go!' 'Lead on!']
"We a ready, these gentlemen and I here present, to do what is necessary to lead you. What shall It be? Do you want us as leader?"
Tremendous excitement here followed. The excited and indignant people shouted to go to the parish prison and lynch the Sicilians. That was the burden of scores of furious remarks. Mr. Parkerson, as soon as he could make himself heard, said:
"Are you ready? Are there men enough here?"
"Yes, yes. Come on! Lead on!" [Immense excitement.]
Mr. Parkerson then added: "There is no more infamous iniquity in this city than this, and to give you a name in connection with it I'll call the name of one man, Dominiok 0'Malley. That man has had the effrontery to sue a reputable newspaper for libel because that paper had shown him up in his true light. Dominick O'Malley is a perjurer, a suborner and a briber of juries."
Mr. Parkerson ended there and Walter Denegre, a lawyer and a large property holder, then addressed the crowd. "On Sept. 14, 1874," began Mr Denegre, "such a crowd as I now see before me was assembled here to assert the manhood of the Crescent City. I propose to see that you do the same to-day. When poor Dave Hennessy was murdered an appeal was made to the citizens to come to the help of the law and to aid the Police Department and the Judges and jury in ferreting out, arresting, trying and sentencing the foul murderers. We stand today with David Hennessy murdered and the courts and the law are a mockery. The time has come when the people must show that such infamous occurrences must be stopped. Are we to stand here and talk without doing anything?" [Cries of "No!" "No!"]
Mr Denegre then spoke of the finding of the jury and said: "I charge that the jury has been tampered with, that it has been bought. I do not say that every one has been approached and purchased but I do assert that some have been bought. I am not after the Italians or Sicilians as a race. I want no race war. But I want every man who murdered Dave Hennessy punished. I want every man here to come with me. I am with you -- are you with me? [Cries of "Yes, yes!"] Shall we remain at the mercy of assassins and murderers? ["No!" was the instantaneous and thundering response.] The Chief of Police was shot down in cold blood by midnight murderers. committee was appointed to apply the law. The committee has not been able to fulfill its charge. The committee has failed. As a member of the Committee of Fifty, I have come back to tell the people that the power they have delegated to us to apply has failed and that the commlttee is powerless. We have come back to lay the matter again before the people and to say: 'Citizens of New Orleans, the committee is helpless, the courts are powerless, now protect yourselves! There is no use in wasting words."
John C. Wickliffe, another lawyer and editor of the Delta, was the last speaker. "When the people meet in Lafayette square they meet to talk. When the people meet under the shadow of the statue of Henry Clay they meet to act. The time for talk is past. Within the walls of the parish prison are confined a number of men declared innocent by a jury of the murder of Chief Hennessy. Are those men to go free?" [Loud outcries, yells and imprecations against the murderers here drowned the words of the speaker.]
Resuming, Mr. Wickllffe said: "Shall the execrable Mafia be allowed to flourish in this city? Shall the Mafia be allowed to cut down our citizens on the pubic streets by foul means of assassination? Shall the Mafia be allowed to bribe jurors to let murderers go scot free? Are you to stand by idly and powerless, or shall you band together and drive that infamous band of miscreants from the city?" [Cries of "We are ready." "Come on; lead on to the parish prison." "Death to the Sicilian assassins." "Down with the Mafia!"]
The orowd was yelling itself hoarse. Fury ungovernable was evident throughout that immense assemblage.
"Shall you protect yourselves?" continued Mr Wickliffe. "Self-preservation is the first law of nature. This is the time for action, not talk." talk
"Let's go!" "Let's go!" "Come on, Wickliffe!" "Come on, Parkerson!" "We are ready!" were the cries as Mr Wickliffe concluded.
There was a lull of an instant in the storm. Then some one yelled "Shall we get our guns?"
"Yes, yes; get your guns," said Mr. Parkerson. "Get your guns and meet us in Congo Square immediately."
The speeches had not lasted more than fifteen minutes. The crowd by this time numbered about 5,000.
THE SLAUGHTER AT THE PRISON
How the Mob Secured an Entrance and then Show down the Sicilians.
The mob seemed determined on quiet work. At the word of command they started toward the parish prison at a dog trot. It waa then seen that there were three carts in the mob in which were a number of ladders to storm the prison if necessary. There were also ropes with which to lynch the prisoners. One of the men on a cart tied the rope aloft in imitation of a hangman's noose and motioned to the mob to come along. Some 300 men armed with rifles made their appearance as men who proposed to take the prison at any cost.
W. S. Parkerson was the commander, J. D. Houston, ex-Criminal Sheriff and the manager of the Democratic party of the State for years, was first lieutenant, and J. C. Wickllffe, formerly District Attorney and editor of the States, Second Lieutenant. Around these armed men the mob surged, some three or four thousand strong. Here and there in the crowd was a man armed with a rifle or a shotgun, but the majority had only revolvers. Some had not even these.
The mob started toward the prison at a quick pace, making the distance of twelve squares in ten minutes. There were no incidents en route. The mass grew larger at every corner. Here and there a few cheers greeted them and there were shouts of "Who kllla de Chief?" the cry with whioh every Italian is greeted In Mew Orleans to-day. The crowd was taciturn. There was no noise save the tramping of feet. The men armed with rifles, most of whom were young, went smiling a though they were on a picnic. All were determined and prepared for resistance if any should be attempted.
When they reached the prison it was soon seen that the men were organized as a military body. The 300 with guns drew up in front of the main gate on Orleans street, other squads went to Treme, Marais and St. Anne streets, completely surrounding the prison, and rendering it impossible for the prisoners to be slipped away by a side or rear entrance. It was also seen that some one had evidently by previous arrangement dumped a number of large wooden beams on Marais street at the side of the prison where they could be conveniently used by the mob as battering rams if it should become necessary to force in the doors. No building was being constructed anywhere near the prison, and it was evident that the beams had been dumped there during the previous night to be used for battering purposes.
The leaders of the mob made a formal demand on Capt. Lem Davis, keeper of the prison for admission. He refused, and said that he oould not surrender the keys without the consent of the Sheriff. He called upon the mob to disperse, Bis refusal was greeted with jeers and groans.
Messengers were immediately despatched for axes and crowbars and picks. These were soon procured from a neighboring blacksmith shop and the mob set to work to break in the big iron gate in front of the prison. It is a massive concern and the instruments made no impression on it. In the mean time another squad attacked the side gate on Marais street. This might easily have been defended by the Sheriff, but no attempt had been made for its defence. The door was battered with some of the beams on the street and finally broken by a negro with an ax. The leaders of the mob stood at the door and only fifty men, the men who had first volunteered their services, were allowed to enter, the rest being kept out with difficulty. The mob first broke into the visiting room, where they were halted for a few seconds by the iron fence and railing.
A demand was made for the key of the gate and a deputy sheriff presented it to one of the men with the remark that the mob was irresistible and it was folly to oppose it any longer. The inside gate was thrown open and the several deputies who were in the lobby gave way to the crowd. The door leading into the white prisoners' yard was open and the mob crowded through.
A cell just at the door was open, and it was crowded with prisoners, who were trembling in every limb. A deputy stood in the door and informed the crowd that none of those In that cell were the prisoners wanted. Then the mob filed out into the yard, glancing up at one of the cells. On the second floor a blanched and ghaatly face was seen at the bars of the door.
"That's Scaffedi," shouted one excited individual and immediately several shots were fired at the cell. The prisoner, whoever he was, quickly disappeared. Several more shots Were fired at the door.
"They are in the female department," shouted a shrill voice. "Where is the key?" "Bring us the key," yelled another and a rush was made for the door separating the two divisions. The door was found securely locked.
"Batter it down," said one.
"Hold," said a young man with a Winchester rifle. "I've got the key," and he held a long key over his head. This announcement was greeted with cheers. The door was opened and the crowd made a break to get in.
"Hold on gentlemen," said Mr Parkerson. We do not want to shed any innocent blood. Who knows the assassins?"
"1 do," "and I," shouted a dozen men. "Let me in. I know them," said one determined man, and he was admitted. Seven men entered and the corridor was found deserted with the exception of one person. This was an old negro woman.
"Dey are up stairs, boss," she said, in answer to a question. The seven men ran up stairs. Before they got half way up a door was slammed and footsteps were heard running along the gallery.
"There they are!" yelled one enthusiast. "Hurrah, tiger!" said another and the cry was taken up by those the lobby. The door leading to the gallery was thrown open, and the backs of the assassins were seen disappearing down the winding stairway leading into the yard of the colored female department. Not a word was spoken then but a half dozen men qulokly ran the length of the gallery and quietly descended the stairs.
These six men did all the shooting. They found the prisoners crouching In the women's department. Bunseri and one of the other Italian saved their lives by concealing themselves in a dog house where they escaped attention. Bunseri weighs over 200 pounds but managed to make himself small for this occasion. Gaspardo Marchesi, the boy prisoner, was saved by some of the mob who took mercy on his tender years. He was concealed between two mattresses. The other Italians were scattered around the yard. When they saw the mob they set up a yell for mercy.
Their cries were heard through the division, and they made a break for the end of the yard toward Orleans street under the gallery. Their object was evidently to get in the last cell but whether any of them did or not cannot be said. Suddenly a voice said "Give it to them!" and instantly three guns and a pistol belched forth a ran of leaden bullets.
Gerachi, who was lame and was the last of tbe fleeing men, received one load in the back of the head, and turning a complete somersault, fell on his face and never moved again. Then Monasteri and Jim Caruso fell. Their backs and heads were literally riddled with bullets. Romero with a cry of anguish, crouched down on his knees with his head almost on the ground.
He was killed in that attitude. He was the only one who had bis hat on, and notwithstanding that it was riddled with bullets, it never left his head. His black frock coat was torn to shreds by the bullets.
Those of the mob who shot from the lobby were so excited that they shot in every direction, and the rioters in the yard had several narrow escapes from the bullets and one man, Officer Hevron, was slightly wounded by a stray ball.
The crowd on the outside beard the firing and cheered without knowing what had been done. Finally some one came to the door and announced that lot of the men had been killed but that Macheca, Marchesi the elder, and Bagnetto would be brought from the prison and hanged.
It had been intended to take Macheca, who was regarded as the leader of the Italians, outside and hang him but in the meanwhile another section of the mob had broken into the cell where Macheca was confined. He heard the men coming, rushed from his cell, which was open and toward the chapel, but was finally cornered in a gallery of the condemned prison.
Here a young man hit him over the head with a rifle which made him insensible. It was reported that he was dead, and the crowd was about to leave him when some one suggested as an extra precaution that he be disposed of. A bullet waa fired through his brain. It being Impossible to hang Macheca, it was decided to lynch Polizi and Bagnetto.
The mob on the outside had grown impatient and demanded victims. The streets for squares around were filled with people among whom were a large number of women and children. The angry crowd wanted vengeance on all the nineteen Italians and showed some opposition when it was announced that only four had been killed, according to the first information given to the mob. A loud demand was then made that the promise to lynch some of the prisoners should be kept. At 11 o'clock, a few minutes after the shooting, the side door on Marais street was pushed open and several of the armed men appeared pushing before them Polizzi, the half-crazed Sicilian who offered to turn Stat's evidence, but who went crazy while attempting to do so. He was aghast with terror and was evidently mad. He was without coat or hat, wore a red flannel shirt, and his black hair was disheveled The crowd called to the armed men to lynch him and he was dragged down to the corner of Marais and St. Anne streets.
The crowd was so dense there that it was difficult to force a passage through it. From the balconies near men and women watched the scene with opera glasses. At the corner was a lamp post; some one threw a rope across the heads of the men who were pushing the prisoner, and when the corner was reached a man scaled the post and threw the rope aronnd it.
There was already a noose at the other end, and this was hastily and imperfectly adjusted about the neck of the Italian. Then willing hands at the other end tugged at the line and the man was hoisted into the air, his white face being turned toward the bright sky. The rope did not hold at first, and Polizzi slipped down to the pavement It was only for an instant, however.
In a couple of seconds stronger hands drew the rope taut and soon the body of the unfortunate man was dangling from the post. As soon as the man was high enough to make the range of shots over the heads of the people a dozen loud reports rang out and the blood gushed from Polizzi's face.
Many shots had riddled his body. Then the rope with which he had been hanged was wrapped seourely about the post, and Polizzi's body was left hanging.
Just before Polizzi had been brought forth Capt. Collien, with a dozen bluecoats in a police van, came tearing up Marals street. They did not go further than tbe corner of St. Anne, however, for there they were met by the throng of citizens, who shook their fists at the officer and ordered them away. One of tho leaders of the mob informed the police that they had just five minutes to leave if they valued their lives. The officers made no response to the threats of the mob, but jumping into the patrol wagon, dashed off at full speed.
This was the only effort made to suppress the riot. Several police officers watched the mob from a distance but said and did nothing. The greater portion of tbe crowd had congregated on St. Anne street, which lay in the rear of the prison, to witness the lynching of Polizzi.
The latter was still quivering when the cry went up that the were lynching another man on the other side of the prison in front of Orleans street, whereupon the entire mob surged in that direction. It was found that the man who was being brought out was Antonio Bagnetto, one of those acquitted yesterday.
He was suffering from a wound and was probably dead when he was lynched or nearly so. Two men carried him to the park in the centre of Orleans street, on which are several rows of trees. Some one ascended a tree and threw another rope around a convenient limb. When Bagnetto was swung up it was seen that he was shot through the head and already dead.
The mob wanted the others, but they were told that enough had been done.
The whole affair occupied barely forty-five minutes. It was 10:20 when the mob reached the pariah prison; it was 11:05 when Bagnetto, the last victim, was strung up.
AFTER THE LYNCHING
Mr. Parkerson Says the Blame Will Ultimately Rest with the Jury
After the lynohers had completed their work in the interior of the prison Mr. Parkerson mounted the sill of one of the street windows and addressed the immense crowd. His presence was the signal for tumultuous cheering.
"Fellow citizens," said Mr Parkerson, "after the law had failed and justice had been thwarted by a corrupt jury and the hired agents of the murderers, the citizens, under the leadership of my associates, have this day taken the law into their own hands and meted out swift punishment to the assassins who have so long infested and disgraced this ommunity. The men who killed Hennessy are dead. Some within the walls of thid prison and others upon the street before your eyes. Lynch law, gentlemen, is a terrible thing, but the Mafia must cease in New Orleans from this moment and forever. The responsibility for this day's tragedy rests with the infamous jury that acquitted the murderers. The people, however, demanded that these murderers should be punished with death and we have executed their will. Now this affair must end here, and if you have confidence in me you will at once disperse and return to your homes, resting assured if there are any other matters to be attended to that they will receive our attention.
At this point the crowd demanded the punishment of O'Malley, who is accused of bribing the jury. Mr. Parkerson then said: "If you have any confidence in me and my associates ('Yes; we have,' yelled the crowd in chorus), then my fellow citizens, go quietly to your homes, and I promise you that Mr O'Malley will be attended to properly."
When Mr. Parkerson had finished his speech the throng broke into the wildest kind of cheering, and, lifting Mr. Parkerson upon their shoulders, bore him away from tho scene.
Then they paraded back to the Clay statue. Mr. Parkerson again spoke, advising the people to go quietly to their business and homes. Some of the crowd marched out to the Common, passing O'Malley whom they wished to lynch. O'Malley remained at his office until 10 o'clock, when the mob started for the parish prison, but left soon after and escaped.
His wife took refuge with Mr. Lionel Adams, ex-Dlstrtet Attorney and counsel for the Italians in tho case and moat of the attorneys for the defence deemed it advisable to seek a place of refuge.
It is understood that when the mob broke into the prison it was the intention to shoot only the three men about whom there was a mistrial. Scaffidi, Pollzzl and Monastero. Some wanted to kill Macheca, and be was slain.
There was then a demand that all the nineteen Italian prisoners should be shot. The mob got hold of Incardina who was acquitted by the jury on the order of the Judge, and would have killed him had not their leader, Mr. Parkerson, interfered and said that Inoardina had been declared innocent by the Court. Matranga's life was saved in the same way. The other four prisoners were confined in another cell and escaped attention.
Of the eleven men killed four had been acquitted by the jury, three had had a mistrial, and four had not been tried. The mob got hold lingered around the scene for some time and the tree on which Bagnetto was hanged was nearly cut down to carry away as mementos.
Polietz and Bagnetto swung to the lamppost and tree until noon when the Coroner put in an apperance and held an inquest on the bodies with a narrow space occupying the width of the two cells under an overhanging gallery in the yard, the bodies of Gerachi, Trabina, Comitez Garus and Monastero were stretched side by side with their heads toward the cells.
At Trabina's feet and lying at right angles to the rest was the body of Romero. The latter's hat, with a hole blown through it as large as a man's two fists clinched together, was picked up by somebody in the crowd from a pool of blood and laid on Comitez's body.
The Coroner reached the parish prison at noon and at once held an inquest. The body of Rocco Geraci was viewed. He had only one wound in the chest. He died from hemorrhages.
Peter Monastero had a gunshot wound in the back of the bead and bruises on the neck. Charles Trahina had ten gunshot wounds in his chest. One gunshot wound on left side of face, gunshot wound in back at left shoulder, one on top of left shoulder and in the back. Jim Cruso had numerous gunshot wounds on the interior portion of the bodv from head to knees, one wound in the face, one In the neck, nine in the chest, twelve in the abdomen, four in the groin, five in the right thigh, and four in the left thigh. Loretto Comitez had a gunshot wound in the chest anteriorly; one gunshot wound on the top of the head, four in the right side of the body, and bruised by a gunshot wound on the left side of the back. Frank Romero, alias "Nine Fingered Frank," had a gunshot wound in the head above the forehead, his face was powder burnt and all the shot lodged in the head and the skull.
This completed the view la the yard. The Coroner, his jury, and the members of the press next went up stairs, and on the gallery of the condemned cells an inquest was held of the bodies lying there.
Antonio Scoffedi had a gun shot wound in the brain. The ball entered above the right eye. Joseph Macheca had not a single bullet wound in him. His face was swollen and his flesh bad already assumed a bluish tint.
The Coroner examined the body and stripped it of clothing. Although the dead man's coat and vest and shirt showed bullet boles, his undershirt was not perforated. It was decided that Macheca was clubbed to death with the butt end of rifles and pistols.
The Coroner then turned to Marchesi, who was found to be still alive. The man's chin and the fore muscles of the neck moved slowly and laboriously. He was just as good as dead, though, for he had a hole as large as a silver quarter in his head. He had several fingers shot off from his right hand. "He will die in a few minutes," remarked the Coroner.
Macheca was a native of Nen Orleans, of Maltese descent. He is a brother of John and Michael Macheca, leading fruit merchants of this city and owner of the Royal Belize Steamship Company. Macheca was therefore the leader among the Italian here, politically and otherwise, and largely controlled the Italian vote.
He was a man about town and had been a personal friend of the dead Chief of Police and a member of the same club with him. He was charged with being the head of the Mafia here and having ordered the killing of Hennessey.
At the time of Hennessey's death be was on bad terms with him, and, it is said, had threatened his life. Jim Caruso was a native of Sicily, a tall, handsome finely formed man. He was member of the firm of Carneo Brothers, stevedores and unloaders of fruit vessels. He had not yet been tried, being in the second batch of men whose trial was to come off next month. Caruso was charged with being a Lieutenant in the Mafia under Maoheo and Matranga. He was with them on the night of Hennessey's murder and it Is said that when they parted Macheca thanked Caruso for getting Hennessey out of the way. Oaruso was one of the Italians who was waylaid by the Provenzanos gang last June and fired upon. Oaruso , being wounded and his brother losing his leg.
Rocco Geracci was a native of Sicily, and it is said bore a very bad reputation in that country being an ex-convict and a member of the Mafia. He was twice arrested here. He was in the Matranga party which was fired on, but escaped with a few wounds.
After the Pronenzano indictment Geracci was arrested for the murder of an Italian shoemaker named Recci, who was killed some years ago in broad daylight, in the presence of a number of Italians, none of whom would bear witness against the murder.
After the second trial it was explained that when Geracci killed the shoemaker he gave the sign of tho Mafia, warning those present not to testify to the killing under penalty of their lives. Caraso was said to be one of the lieutenants of the Mafia. He was a desperate man. Antonio Scoffidi was a native of Siclly and fruit dealer in the Poydras Market.
He was a man of vigorous proportions and more Americanized than most of the other Italians, speaking English well. He was one of the boldest of the Italians on trial, and did not seem at all alarmed.
Soon after the killing of Hennessy he was attacked in tho Pariah prison by Tom Duffy, a news vendor and friend of Hennessey and shot mortally, it was supposed, but recovered in time to stand the trial.
The evidence at the trial was strongest against Scoffidi as the man who killed Hennessy, no less than four witnesses identifying him as the man who fired the last three fatal shots. Antonio Monastero the cobbler, was about 50 years old. It was from his house that Hennessey was shot.
It was charged that he was one of the tools of the Mafia, that the shanty occupied by him, which is diagonally opposite Hennessy's house, was rented for him two months before the murder in order that Hennessy's movements could be watched and the gang which lay in wait for him would have a place of ambuscade. Here, it is charged, they met an hour before the murder and prepared for the killing.
Antonio Marchesi, another old man, was a fruit dealer in the Poydras market. He was the father of the boy Gaspardo who, it was claimed was to walk half a square in advance of Hennessy and give notice of his coming by the whistle peculiar to the Italians here. The elder Marchesi was identified as one of the five men who did the shooting.
Manuel Polozzi, peddler, was a young Sicilian, 26 yearn old. He was superstitious and his mind gave way during the trial. He offered to confess and told a long story about the Mafia, but it was rambling and of no value to the State's authorities.
He carried on wildly in the court and frequently interrupted the session. The city physician examined him and declared he was not insane, but said be was suffering from intense excitement. Polozzi was charged with being the man who provided the guns for the assassination, and also of the principals.
While running from the police the night of the killing he fell and hurt his shoulder. He is reported to have said Scoffedi killed the Chief.
Frank Romero, "Nine-fingered Frank," was a Sicilian. He was charged with being an accessory in the oase, but there was little evidence against him. He was with Machessa the night of the murder.
He bore a bad reputation and bad been in several cutting and shooting affrays here and was regarded as a dangerous man, and one of the leaders in the Italian secret societies, and therefore connected with the Mafia if any one was. He had been a resident of New Orleans for over twenty years. Loretto Comitez was a Sicilian and a fruit dealer. He was charged with being an accessory in the killing of Hennessey, but there was very little evidence against him. He had not been tried when he was killed.