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The Battle of Blair Mountain
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I read the book by Lon Savage, Thunder In the Mountains, and wrote this song, about the biggest battle in the West Virginia Coal Mine War of 1920-21.
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David Rovics
David Rovics 2004 All Rights Reserved
Songs for Mahmud
Thu May 26, 2005
Acoustic : Folk
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About the song
I read the book by Lon Savage, Thunder In the Mountains, and wrote this song, about the biggest battle in the West Virginia Coal Mine War of 1920-21.
Lyrics
Battle of Blair Mountain
David Rovics

1921 was the year
Seems like yesterday to me
Let me tell you about what happened then
Back in the mine country
We were fightin' hard to build a union
'Cause at forty cents a ton
There was no way to feed a family
When the minin' day was done

The strike had lasted for a year
When they shot down Smilin' Sid
He was a lawman who stood up for us miners
That's the only crime he ever did
A hundred miners locked up with no trial
There in Mingo-town
But the last straw came in Sharples
When the gunned the women down

(Chorus)
We're marchin' on to Mingo
Ten thousand men and countin'
Here in the hills of West Virginia
At the Battle of Blair Mountain

We shouted through the hillsides
In every union hall
We're marchin' on to Mingo
Teach them a lesson, once and all
We commandeered every freight train
To the Kentucky line
Took every car that crossed our path
And all the guns and ammo we could find

The union leaders tried to stop us
Mother Jones told us to turn back
But we had learned ourselves from the gun thugs
There's a time to talk and a time to attack
We had no leader, we didn't need one
We all knew the way through Logan County
And we all knew once we got there
We're gonna hang Sheriff Chapin from a sour apple tree

(Chorus)

For three days and nights we fought them
the front was ten miles wide
All the cops and scabs in West Virginia
Were there on the other side
They dropped explosives from their airplanes
Such a thing you never saw
They shot us with machine guns
It was the operator's law

We dug trenches and wore helmets
That we brought from the Argonne
All the way from France to Logan
We fought from dusk to dawn
President Harding sent in the Army
And we left our line to them
But the hills of West Virginia
Will long remember when

(Chorus)

Created August, 2003
Copyright David Rovics 2003, all rights reserved