The Great railroad strike
The panic of 1873 forced many companies to cut wages. By July 1877 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad announced they were cutting wages for the third time. Many workers, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, walked off the job and blocked the tracks. As word spread about the strike it eventually involoved 80,000 railroad workers. It affected two-third's of the nation's railways. In New York, Baltimore, Pittsburg, St. Louis and Chicago strikers were breaking equipment, tearing up tracks and blocking rail service. Many governors called out their militias, which led to gun battles between the militia and the strikers. Declaring a state of "insurrection," President Hayes sent federal troops to Martinsburg and elsewhere. It took 12 days for the troops to restore order. When the strike ended more than 100 people were dead and over $10 million in railroad property had been destroyed.