Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of James P. Stanton, 1886 July 19.

Volume I, 215-231, 17 p.
Stanton, James P.
Police Lieutenant, Chicago Police Department.

Direct examination by Mr. Grinnell. Cross-examination by Captain Black. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Police lieutenant wounded in the Haymarket bombing. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): street lights and/or lights on the wagon (vol.I 228), actions of police during the Haymarket meeting (vol.I 215), trajectory of the bomb (vol.I 216), time and place origination of the gunfire (vol.I 222), Degan, Mathias (vol.I 217), medical care and wounds (vol.I 217).

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Monday, July 19, 1886.
10 A. M.


produced as a witness on behalf of the people, after having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

Direct Examination by

Q What is your name?

A James P. Stanton.

Q You are a lieutenant of the police force?

A Yes sir.

Q How long have you been on the police force?

A Well, I have been connected with the force on and off since 1869.

Q Prior to that what was your business? Were you living in Chicago?

A Yes.

Q How long have you been in the City of Chicago?

A Since 1856.

Q You were also in the navy during the war?

A Yes sir.

Q You and your company were at the Haymarket massacre on the 4th of May last?

A Yes sir.

Q You may describe and state what occurred from the time of your starting from Waldo Place until the bomb was thrown. Describe the way they marched down, how you fell in, the position of all the companies as you know, and especially

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the position of your own company, with reference to the others--either in front or rear of you?

A I had received orders to fall in and draw my men up in line in the station, in the roll call room, and we want out from the side entrace of the Waldo Place, and I drew my men up in line on the left of Lieut. Bowler, and I then asked my captain where I should fall in just as we had received orders to march. The captain ordered me to fall in on the left of Bowler; that would be drawing a line across the street; they stepped off pretty lively and it took my company some time to catch up with them.

Q How many men were in your company?

A 18; so there was about four of my men--the right of my company covered about four of the left of Bowler's company; that was when we came to a halt. I came to a halt--probably it was three or four or five seconds may be in reference to the shell I came to a halt about five seconds when I saw the shell come over and fall about four feet from where I stood.

Q On which side of you?

A On the left side of me; that was on the left of Bowler, and about the center of my company, as near as I can come to it. I then turned in this manner (indicating).

Q You turned to the left?

A I turned to the left. I hellowed to my men to "look out, there is a shell". I did not say bomb because I was not acquainted with bombs.

Q You got use of the word shell during the time of your

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service in the navy?

A Yes; of course we used to shell there, but of a larger size, and just as the word shell had dropped from my lips the bomb exploded.

Q What was the result?

A The result was I turned and looked for my men, and they were sprawled around on the street, some of them scattered and wounded. I believe there were one or two of my men that were not wounded out of the eighteen.

Q Have any of them died since?

A Yes.

Q Which ones?

A Degan is dead and also Redden.

Q Methias J. Degan was of your company?

A Yes.

Q And Redden?

A Yes.

Q They were eighteen men in your company?

A Yes.

Q Two killed?

A Yes.

Q All injured except two?

A I believe two; I am not positive. I have been laid up myself.

Q What was the result to yourself?

A Well, I was wounded. My body was hit in eleven different places.

Q With what?

A With a shell, I believe.

Q Describe the wounds and where you received them, and the nature of them?

A I received three on the calf of my leg, one above the knee, one on my hip, one in the side, two on the right arm, and a slight wound on the left thigh, and a couple of scratches on my right thigh.

Q Were you laid up from the effects of your wounds for any length of time?

A I was sir.

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Q Where and how long?

A I was in the Cook County Hospital. I was also at my home.

Q How long have you been laid up? How long was it before you got out?

A I don't know whether it will be proper for me to state how I got out.

Q Were you taken to the Hospital first?

A Yes.

MR. BLACK: I don't see the materiality of that.

MR. GRINNELL: It shows something of the nature and character of the missle that gave the wound.

MR. GRINNELL: Q How long were you laid up?

Objected to; objection overruled; to which ruling the defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.

A How long was I laid up in bed?

Q How long were you at the Hospital?

A I believe it was two weeks and a half or three weeks that I was at the Hospital.

Q Where were your then?

A I went to my home.

Q How did you get from the Hospital to your house?

A In a buggy.

Q After that how soon did you get out--able to be out on the street and walk?

A Well, to limp around I suppose you mean?

Q Yes, when you began to get out?

A Well, right after that.

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Q Right after the two weeks and a half?

A I am not well now by any means. I will state that the wounds themselves are nothing to me to what I suffered afterwards.

Q In what particular--how?

A Well, the nervous shock, I presume, it must be; it came on me about two weeks or two weeks and a half afterwards.

Q What effect did these pieces of missile have upon your flesh, the wounds?

A They were very sore.

Q You know somethi g about bullet wounds?

A Yes, there was a piece of lead taken out of my side. I do not know whether it was a bullet wound or whether it was a part of a shell; it was lead.

Q How about the others?

A Well, there is a piece of metal in my leg now, one of the wounds. I presume it went clear through. It entered here and came out here (indicating).

Q What was the character of the hole in your clothes?

A The holes in the clothing are really larger than the holes in my limbs; inside of my coat the lining--it is really larger than the outside; the lining was torn inside. The hole is really larger than the outside of the hole--the coat.

Q In reference to the alley at Crane Bros. where was your company? Supposing this to be the alley here (indicating), Here is the Desplaines station (indicating). About how many feet do you think you stood from that alley?

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A I think I stood about the alley.

Q In the street somewhere?

A In the street, on the left of Lieut. Bowler's company. Lieut. Bowler was on my left.

Q And you were on the left hand side of the street?

A I was about the middle of the street.

Q Where in reference to the middle of the street were you, east or west of it?

A I stood probably more east than I did west.

Q Where was your company with reference to that street? Was it on the east or west side of the street?

A On then west side of the street. Bowler was on the east side of the street and my company lapped about four of Bowler's men on the left. I was on the rear of Bowler and we covered about four of his men.

Q Where was the shell when you first saw it?

A In the air.

Q Where in reference to yourself?

A It was bout--over--very near over my head.

Q From what direction did it come, if you know?

A From the east.

Q Where in reference to the alley?

A I think a little north of the alley.

Q Did you see the shell?

A I did.

Q Describe it?

A I saw it when it was on the ground.

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I saw it better when it was on the ground. I should judge it was about that size. (Indicating about size of base-ball).

Q That is as it appeared as it passed through the air?

A Yes sir.

Q About how many inches in diameter should you think it was from what you saw?

A Oh probably three inches, may be, or something like that, as near as I could guess. The way I came to see the size was on account of the fuse that was connected with the shell; there seemed to be a fuse about that size (indicating), and the fuse was maybe about two inches long when I saw it, or an inch and a half, or something like that.

Q Do you know how many of your officers were injured by the shell or pieces of shell?

A Well, that I don't know, sir, of my own knowledge; only what I have heard.

Q Who was speaking, if you know, when your company advanced north--who was speaking from the wagon?

A Did you see anybody or hear anybody?

A I heard a voice, but I do not know it.

Q From what place did the speaking come?

A From the north.

Q Did you see the wagon or anybody upon the wagon as you were advancing north?

A Well, I saw some parties standing there, but what transpired after the officers came

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to a halt I don't know; that I know nothing about, for I could not hear it. I was too far away.

Q You did not hear anything that Capt. Bonfield or Ward said after they got up there?

A I could hear their voices, but I could not understand what they were saying.

Q In reference to the explosion of the bomb, or in reference to the time when you saw it in the air, had there been any shot fired before that? When you saw that bomb in the air, that you described--before you saw it had there been any shot fired?

A No sir, not to my knowledge.

Q In reference to the time when you saw it there, when were shots fired?

A Well, it seemed to me it was immediately after it went off. I turned myself and drew my revolver and immediately commenced to fire.

Q From whom did the firing begin first, the police or the crowd?

A That I cannot swear to, because as I say I turned and faced my men.

Q You heared the firing immediately?

A Immediately after the bomb went off the firing commenced. I commenced myself. Of course I had mynrevolver in my pocket, the same as the rest of my men, and I drew my revolver and looked for my men and there was no man there except one or two, that is, except those who were on foot.

Q Were your men armed that night or not?

A They were supposed to be; they were supposed to have their revolvers in their pockets.

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Q Did they have their clubs?

A Yes.

Q Where were they?

A In their sockets--in their belts.

Q That is the way you marched down the street?

A Yes.

Q Did they draw them to your knowledge before the bomb was exploded?

A No, sir.

Cross Examination by

Q You have been connected with the police force since 1869?

A On and off; I have been in other business.

Q How much of the time have you been connected with the police force and how much with other vocations?

A About nine years on the police force.

Q And at other work during the residue of the time?

A Yes.

Q Now, on the night in question you were ordered to fall in, I understand you, on Waldo Place?

A Yes.

Q And from Waldo Place, as quick as you formed, you marched by flank on to Desplaines Street?

A Yes.

Q Your location being on the left of Lieut. Bowler's company which had preceded you, I suppose?

A Yes.

Q Your company and Bowler's company together formed the second division did they?

A Well, that is the way I understand it.

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Q The first division being in charge of Lieutenants Steele and Quinn and Capt. Ward?

A Yes.

Q I understand from your description that the force did not halt at Desplaines street for the purpose of organizing the column complete, but that the front company marched on, and that Bowler, as soon as he got into Desplaines street turned by company front and marched and that when you came into Desplaines street, and turned by company front into the north you had to hurry up in order to overtake Bowler, is that true?

A It was right face from Waldo Place, and then left face north, and I then ran to my captain, and I says "Captain, where shall I fall in"? Says he "fall in on the left of Bowler". This was just as they were marched at Waldo Place, and of course they were marching on at that time, and it took me some time to catch up to Bowler and consequently, I ordered my company "left oblique" and trotted along, and then as the forward company came to a halt. I reached Bowler and was about four of his men on the left.

Q And you proceeded a good part of the distance then by double quick?

A Yes.

Q You were not walking?

A We did not trot; we walked pretty fast.

Q And you succeeded in getting up, to your position, but not quite far enough to the left just as the word halt came?

A I will tell you why I did not fall in--that is,

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probably why I did not fall in on the extreme left of Bowler. I was afraid that Bowler's company and my own company might have been too wide for the street, and my own company might have been too wide for the street from curbstone to curbstone and that is why I covered bout four of Bowler's men on the left.

Q When you came to a halt, however, you had just overtaken Bowler?

A Just came up with him.

Q And the four men of your right were in the rear of the four men of Bowler's left?

A Yes.

Q Now, as to the balance of your company, did you come out into the line to the front of Bowler or did the whole of your company fall a little in the rear of Bowler's front?

A My whole company was about two feet when we came to a halt---bout two feet in the rear of Bowler's.

Q Of Bowler's front?

A No, of Bowler's left. I heard the talking and I kind of stepped a few steps to try to hear what was going on, and I then came to a front; with that I saw the bomb.

Q Now, how far was your line--that is to say, the line of yourself and Bowler in the rear of the front line of the police?

A That I cannot swear.

Q Well, about how far? Was there ten feet between you?

A I cannot swear to it.

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It might have been ten feet, it might have been six feet, and it might not have been five feet; I cannot swear positively to that.

Q When you first noticed the shell it was overhead in the air?

A Yes, right overhead.

Q How high above your head did you judge it to be?

A I should judge it was about 7, or 8 or 9 feet.

Q So that at the time you saw it it was directly over your head, and it was probably ten or fifteen feet above the ground?

A Yes, and of course I saw it and then I turned.

Q Now, how far to your left did the bomb fall in the street?

A It fell about six feet, but rolled back.

Q Towards you?

A Yes. It first went away from me, and then in some way rolled back towards me.

Q Then the bomb from the time you observed it until it struck the street was coming down pretty lively?

A Yes.

Q And upon a pretty sharp slant?

A Yes.

Q Making a descent somewhere from 12 to 15 feet in a westward motion of about 6 feet you think?

A It may not have been as high as that; it might have been 4, 5 or 6 feet over my head; it was probably about 12 feet from the ground.

Q Then, as I said, it made a descent of somewhere about 12 feet in a westward passage of about six?

A Something like that, sir.

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Q When you first saw the shell was it in front of you as you stood facing to the north or was it almost directly overhead?

A. It was a little north of me, probably a foot or two north.

Q How far in front of your front rank did the shell strike the street?

A. About two feet.

Q So that the direction of the shell, as you observed it, or think it to be, was a little from the northeast towards the southwest?

A. It seemed to come from the north-east and seemed to light south south-west, a little to the southwest, a little more west than south.

Q It was going almost west but with a little turn to the south?

A. Yes.

Q You did not hear what was said by any of the parties?

A No sir.

Q You heard voices but did not distinguish the words?

A No sir.

Q Do you remember whether or not as you had halted there upon command your left was a little advanced, or were you standing directly across the street east and west?

A. We were standing directly across the street east and west, but this I will say, as I turned--- as I stated before the moment I saw the shell or bomb or whatever it was; it struck me in a moment what it was, and I turned and hellowed to my men to "look out, it is a shell!" Some of them opened some--

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scattered some, but none of them run away; they stood their ground, and mostly at that moment off it went, and of course being wounded myself I turned and looked for my men, and as I stated before there was only one or two of them there.

Q What I wanted to get at was whether or not before coming to an absolute halt your left had struck a little forward or whether it had halted directly across the street east and west?

A. Well, that was as near as possible.

Q A halt can hardly ever be responded to instantly; there will be a little variance in the line?

A. I gave the men command to halt; they usually come to a rest on order.

Q Did you notice especially the position of Bowler's front with reference to the alley?

A. That I cannot state, it was dark that night; it was rather a dark night.

Q That leads me to ask you, what was it that enabled you to see the shell, and especially to see its dimensions?

A The fuse---it was on fire.

Q You were governed then simply by the fuse?

A. Yes.

Q There was a lamp however lighted at the corner of the alley at that time?

A. That I will not swear to.

Q There was a light on the wagon?

A I believe there was.

Q You did not recognize, I understand, any of the voices you heard except the voice of Capt, Ward?

A I believe that it was Ward's voice that I recognized.

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Q That was the only one?

A. Yes, that I know of.

Q You did not know who was speaking on the wagon?

A Only what I had heard before that.

Q You had no personal knowledge?

A. No sir.

Q You stood, I understand you, to the east of your men and just on Bowler's left?

A. Yes, on the east of my men and just on Bowler's left; I stood very near to the center of my company.

Q And then probably you were a little west of the center of the street, were you not?

A. No, I was east of the center of the street; I am positive of that.

Q Don't you think that Bowler's company occupied half of the street?

A. No, I don't think it did.

Q How many men did he have?

A. I don't know; it is a very wide street.

Q It is only 48 feet?

A. I don't know what amount of men he had. I covered four of his men with my 18.

Q If you covered four of his men and his right was against the curbstone, and you had only 18 men, don't you think you were west of the center?

A. I am positive I was east. When we came to a halt I stepped forward very close to Bowler's company; that shows that I was really on the east side of the street because I stood between my own company and Bowler's company, as I stated I covered four men on his left and that shows that I must have been on the east

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side of the street.

Q Is that a conclusion that you reached, or is it from an independent recollection?

A. I am positive.

Q But isn't it your reasoning that makes you positive?

A No sir, because I know.

Q You have a recollection distinct?

A. Yes.

Q You are certain you were east of the center of the street?

A. I am certain I was east of the center of the street, as I stated. Before that I might have been about the center of the street, but when we came to a halt I stepped a couple of steps to the east and then came to the front; with that I saw the shell.

Q How near do you think you were to the wagon at the time you came to a halt and turned around to your men with this exclamation with reference to the shell?

A. Oh, maybe 25 or 30 or 40 feet. I could not swear; it might not have been 15 feet; I could not swear, for really I did not notice.

THE COURT: One of the jurors wants you to tell what you saw of the movement of the shell; describe it--the line of flight--that is, whether it was coming in a straight line, whether it was coming down, or whether it was an eliptical line?

A. It was maybe a foot or two in front of me; when I first saw it it was immediately in front of me; then it came down and dropped about four feet to my left, passing in front of me.

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Q It did not ascend higher after you first saw it, but was on a downward course?

A. Yes, on a downward course, and it came from the northeast.

Q In reference to the explosiion of the bomb when did you receive your wounds and when did you feel them?

A. I was shooting when I felt my wounds, and one of my men took hold of me, and it seemed that he was wounded himself, and then somebody else took hold of me and took me to the station. I believe that I received wounds after the shell went off, but I would not swear positively. I believe I received the wound on my arm, and that was after the shell went off; that is my best recollection.

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