Talk:Battle of Blair Mountain

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The article, as currently written is misleading. Whatever the "Battle of Blair Mountain" may be, it clearly NOT "the largest armed conflict in American history." I am rewording it to "one of the largest riots in American history." While 'riot' may not be the most apropiate word, it is probably better than 'armed conflict' which suggests an actual war rather than a clash between armed civilians and police. Feel free to reverse this change, as I must confess my knowledge of the incident to be scant at best.

Now changed to "one of the largest armed uprisings", and considerably expanded. --OpenToppedBus - Talk to the driver 16:04, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your work on this OTB. Aman 9/7/06

Still wrong. The Whiskey Rebellion was at least as large... Also, no where near as large as the nationwide race riots following the Martin Luther King assassination I would imagine.

The current version makes it clear that it's only the largest "in labor history", not the largest of all. Neither of those examples are labor/union-related. I think the wording works OK, though more input might be good. --OpenToppedBus - Talk to the driver 09:03, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

This is possibly a minor detail in comparison to some of the other material here, but "the murder of Sid Hatfield, police chief of Matewan, on the steps of the McDowell County courthouse in July 1921 by alleged company goons" is factually wrong on two counts.

Smilin' Sid wasn't "murdered." He was assassinated in retaliation for his attempt the previous month to arrest hired mercenaries of the Baldwin-Phelps Security Company on charges of murder during the winter of 1921. He was gunned down in broad daylight, in front of scores of witnesses, by Baldwin-Phelps men. The people in Matewan still remember, even if the rest of the country doesn't.

not true[edit]

"It was the only example of Air Power being used by the federal government against US citizens."

At least there is the instance of Air National Guard units bombed and strafed US citizens in Puerto Rico. --Cerejota (talk) 04:02, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

If you are referring to this incident, it was an accidental bombing, unlike Blair mountain, which was purposeful. Jwalte04 (talk) 17:24, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
No, I am referring to events during the 1950 Nationalist Uprising, specifically the The Jayuya Uprising. The US National Guard attacked, using air and artillery assets, including bombing one school that was being used as a bivouac by the insurgents.
"Life" magazine for November 13, 1950 has full coverage, as did the press of the time, as this uprising included an attempt to kill Truman. It is well documented, notable, and true.
While Puerto Rico is just a territory, all Puerto Ricans are born full US citizens since 1917. So what this article says is at best original research, and at worse not verifiable. I suggest we remove the assertion. Thanks! --Cerejota (talk) 12:24, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
I've reworded it from "the only example" to "a rare example" (and moved that particular phrase for added clarity). --OpenToppedBus - Talk to the driver 17:20, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Redneck War[edit]

I have removed the following from the lede, and bring it here for discussion:

The battle was the final act in a series of violent clashes that have also been termed the Redneck War, from the color of bandannas worn by the miners around their necks for friend-or-foe identification, a war some claim was the impetus of the common usage of the original Scottish term redneck in the vernacular of the United States.

I cannot find a reputable source for this claim, and it seems somewhat reaching. Can someone find a source for this? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 02:36, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

On an ETSU radio show, someone (I missed the names) said the term "Red Neck army" was used by a New York Times reporter. Someone with access to the NYT archive could find such an article, likely in 1921. A more recent NYT piece about the mountain topping that threatens to destroy Blair Mountain is at . Also, has a list of references that might help. (talk) 18:11, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Bloated 'background'[edit]

The 'Background' section of this article seems bloated and recounts in near heavy detail the same information that can be found in the article for the Matewan Massacre. It may be more useful/clear to have a shorter background with links to those key events as opposed to recounting them in here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 15 June 2011 (UTC)


The West Virginia State Archives only lists four Deputies and "at least" twelve miners as casualties. What are the references for the 50-100 claomed here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:18, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Statistics on the number of deaths: All sources I have read admit that the number of deaths are not clear. lists the number as "at least 4", states: ". The precise death toll was never established, but estimates range from fewer than twenty to more than fifty." explains: "The official casualties were 16 killed, but the actual number may have been far higher. No one knows. Both sides kept their casualties secret.Much remains unknown about the Battle of Blair Mountain – reporters having been largely barred from the battlefield; and afterwards, the miners observed a permanent code of silence to protect their leaders from prosecution" Even the number of marchers varies from account to account with a low of 1,000 and a high projection at 20,000. Puts the situation clearly: "Like other statistics in this event, the exact numbers of killed and wounded are mere conjecture." I would love to see an accurate number for the casualties on each side, but at this point I'm not sure it exists. --glassjar99 (talk) 16:18, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Of the four deputies, one died of a heart attack and three were murdered in cold blood after being captured. The number of union miners killed should be well documented, but the questions of when and under what circumstances they were killed is murky - several pro-union miners were killed during the march, but prior to the battle. Why would anyone keep the casualties secret? The US Senate hearing provided detail and would be a useful source: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nothing Extra (talkcontribs) 12:06, 22 April 2014 (UTC)


Incorrect phrases: First, it wasn't the Baldwin-PHELPS detective Agency, it was the Baldwin-FELTS Detective Agency. I know. My last name is Baldwin and I had many relatives in the Battle of Blair Mountain. My great-uncle married a woman whose maiden name was Phelps from the Lake/Hewitts Creek area. There was no connection between Phelps and Felts. The 'Felts' in the Baldwin-Felts detective agaency was named after Albert Felts and probably his brother Lee Felts. These two are mentioned in the battle of Matewan, listed in wikipedia.

Secondly, you called this the "redneck War.' This was known as 'The Thug and Redneck War.' You left out part of the phrase. This was significant because the "Thugs" were detectives hired by the coal companies in the area.

Thirdly, the "redneck" came from those who supported the miners in the Battle for Blair Mountain wearing a red bandana around their neck. I know this because my grandparents used the red bandana from my grandfather's neck as a diaper for my aunt as a diaper when they were evacuated and relocated to a tent in Jeffrey, West Virginia during the uprising. (talk) 02:16, 17 October 2011 (UTC)calicomist

Agree about Felts, for certain -- but I don't see any reference to "Phelps" or to "redneck" anywhere in the article -- where are you looking? Antandrus (talk) 02:21, 17 October 2011 (UTC)


I'm offering a bounty (payable as a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation) for improvements to this article. £15 for bringing it up to B-class, as assessed by one of the associated Wikiprojects, another £40 to get it to Good Article status, and another £100 to get it to Featured Article. --OpenToppedBus - Talk to the driver 16:16, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

  • I've gone through and converted your refs to harvard style, which is the preferred form of citation in GAN and FAC reviews; in addition, I corrected most of your cites to shortened footnotes (the "sfn" template), which is what you should use for your citation from here on out, if you're citing to a book or journal article more than once in an article. There are a couple of things I see which you need to do:
  1. Add page references for your Corbin 1998 cites
  2. You need to put the Ayers and Corbin 1982 references in here; I did some digging and can't figure out what works those might represent.
  3. Each paragraph needs at least one citation to the source material. If you cite to a source you've already cited, all you have to do is copy/paste the "sfn" template and change the "p=" number to reflect what page it's on. The sfn template is a real lifesaver for citation, and it makes it so that you can click on the cite in your footnotes, and it will take you to the exact book referenced. Once you make sure each paragraph is cited, this should be enough to get you to at least B-level (if it gets to B, no bounty is needed; just give me a shout-out on my talk page to let me know if everything turned out well). This is about all I can help with at this point, but best of luck! Cdtew (talk) 20:05, 18 January 2013 (UTC)


This article is not written with a disinterested tone and requires significant rewriting. There is clearly an opinion behind it e.g. "oppressive state-sanctioned system," or "The Battle of Blair Mountain was the result of economic exploitation of workers..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:36, 25 January 2014 (UTC)