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Sorry for the lack of posts lately! We’ll get back to posting on a more constant basis starting in 2012. For more up to date discussion about Blair Mountain’s history and upcoming events, Be sure to like us on Facebook!

Published in: on December 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm  Comments Off on Like us on Facebook  
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Harry Hill Bandholtz

Major General Harry Hill Bandholtz (1864 – May 11, 1925)was born in Constantine, Michigan and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. In 1902 he served as Provincial Governor in Tayabas Province in the Philippines. He was promoted to Brigadier General and served as Chief of the Philippines Constabulary between 1907-1913 supporting America’s colonial government in the Philippines during the Filipino-American War. He served in NY as Chief of Staff in the NY National Guard and went with it to the border in Mexico during the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villia in 1916. In 1917 he became commander of the 58th Brigade of the 29th Division. He went with his unit to France in June of that year and served with it for three months. On September 27 he was named Provost Marshal General to General John J. Pershing’s American Expeditionary Force in France serving through the end of hostilities and beyond. In 1919, he became the US representative of the Allied Military Mission in Hugary in 1919, making sure that the Romanians and Serbian armies left in a timely manner.

After Sid Hatfield’s murder, the Mine Wars grew into the Battle of Blair Mountain. With a 2,000-man detachment from four U.S. Army regiments and 14 bombers commanded by the military aviation pioneer, Gen. Billy Mitchell, Bandholtz quickly reestablished law and order in the coalfields without firing a shot. Bandholtz’s smoothly executed double envelopment on September 3 and subsequent disarming of the combatants at the Battle of Blair Mountain effectively ended the Mine Wars. Neither side wished to exchange fire with federal soldiers. Bandholtz expressed disgust that West Virginia state and local government in the aftermath.

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm  Comments Off on Harry Hill Bandholtz  
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Don Chafin’s Militia

Most of Don Chafin’s private army was made up of the recently created WV State Police, WV National Guard, hired guns, citizens from Logan, members of the American Legion, strike breakers, and a variety of others. For those that wanted to wear a uniform, khaki was the most common color. Khaki generally meant what we would consider Olive Drab now a days. Like the miners, many of these men were also veterans of the Great War and would have worn their service uniforms. In many pictures, these men are seen wearing the campaign hats, which was a common head gear for the state police and soldiers of the US Army. The other option was to wear a white armband to “counter” the red scarves that the union men would wear. Since these men were armed by the coal companies, they were almost exclusively armed with the M1903 Springfield rifle and to a lesser extent, the M1917 Enfield rifle. In addition, they were also armed with Winchester lever action rifles, Thompson sub-machine guns, Colt and Browning machine guns, and even ex-military light artillery. In the end both sides did minimal damage to each other since both sides were under disciplined and many were not trained in military warfare; over a million rounds were fired in five days resulting in less than 50 dead on both sides.

On the Topic of WW1 US Uniforms

If you watched the UMW’s video, “Into the Darkness,” one of the narrator’s mentions that some of the miner’s wore the uniforms that they had worn in France during the Great War. There is enough evidence to prove that this statement is correct through picture’s taken during the ten days that the battle took place and the surrender to Federal forces.

From what I can tell, the most common items would have been the “Bordie” helmet, M1910 ammo belt, and occasionally the M1903 Bandolier. Some men did wear the full uniform into battle, though. My general opinion of guerrilla fighters, however; is to keep full military dress to a minimum

Since the subject of US Army uniforms is rather detailed I’d highly recommend visiting theHeartland Doughboys. They are an American Expeditionary Force reenactment group based in the upper-Midwest.

Schipperfabrik and What Price Glory are amongst the best and most recommend vendors for items.

Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm  Comments Off on On the Topic of WW1 US Uniforms  
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