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Harry Hill Bandholtz


Harry Hill Bandholtz (December 18, 1864-May 7, 1925) was commander of the federal troops that intervened to end the West Virginia Mine Wars in 1921. Bandholtz, who was born in Michigan, graduated from West Point in 1890 and served with distinction in World War I.

Bandholtz was commander of the Military District of Washington in 1921 when President Harding ordered him to restore civil authority in southern West Virginia. 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 riotous coalfields. On September 3, Bandholtz smoothly executed a military maneuver called a double envelopment and subsequently disarmed the combatants at the Battle of Blair Mountain. Without firing a shot, Bandholtz effectively ended the Mine Wars. Bandholtz expressed disgust that West Virginia state and local government had allowed a labor dispute to escalate into one of America’s largest civil insurrections.

Written by C. Stuart McGehee


  1. Savage, Lon. Thunder in the Mountains. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.

  2. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography vol. 19. New York: James T. White & Co., 1926.

  3. Laurie, Clayton L. The United States Army and the Return to Normalcy in Labor Dispute Interventions: The Case of the West Virginia Coal Mine Wars. West Virginia History, 1991.