Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of James Bowler (first appearance), 1886 July 19.

Volume I, 288-295, 8 p.
Bowler, James.
Police Lieutenant, Chicago Police Department.

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

Bowler led a company of police officers to the Haymarket meeting. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): position of the defendants and others on the speakers' wagon (vol.I 292), street lights and/or lights on the wagon (vol.I 292), actions of police during the Haymarket meeting (vol.I 288), Captain Ward's command to disperse (vol.I 289), Fielden's response to the police advance at Haymarket (vol.I 289), trajectory of the bomb (vol.I 294), the explosion (vol.I 289), time and place origination of the gunfire (vol.I 290).

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

Direct Examination by

Q You are Lieutenant of the police force and located at the Desplaines street station?

A. Yes.

Q You had a company in charge on the night of May 4th.?

A Yes.

Q You may state what occurred from the time you started from Waldo Place until you began to carry the wounded back to the station?

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A At about half past ten the night of the 4th we left the Desplaines street station and marched east on Waldo Place to Desplaines street, north on Desplaines Street, company front. I was marching by right flank, and we came to Crane's alley north of Randolph street on the east side of the street and halted there, right at the south end of Crane's alley. I was in advance of the company about eight or nine feet probably more. Lieutenants Quinn and Steele at the head. I saw Inspector Bonfield and Captain Ward start towards the speaker's wagon and Captain Ward raised his club and says "I command you, in the name of the People of the State of Illinois, to immediately and peaceably disperse, and I call upon you, and you, to assist". The words were scarcely spoken when the speaker stepped off of the wagon and said "We are peaceable"--that is Mr. Fielden. The words were scarcely spoken when I heard the explosion.

Q Where was the explosion in reference to your company?

A It was about the centre of my company.

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Q What was the effect upon your company? How many were killed and how many were wounded?

A. There was 18 wounded and three of them died.

Q What are the names of those who died?

A Officer George Mueller, Michael Sheehan and John J. Barrett.

Q Did they die from the effects of the bomb wounds?

A They died from the effects of the wounds they received that night.

Q How many men were injured in your company besides those who died?

A. 15.

Q How many men were in line that night when you marched down the street?

A. 26 or 27.

Q In reference to the explosion of that bomb, when did the firing begin and how did it commence?

A. It was probably a couple of seconds. I got kind of stunned myself; it was two seconds or three. I recovered myself and I saw the firing coming in from the wagon on the east and north of the alley and on Desplaines street right in front of us%.

Q Did you see or recognize anybody firing?

A. No sir.

Q Or did you simply see the flashing of the pistols coming from the different places that you speak of?

A Yes, and see the pistols in their hands. Then I give orders to the few men I had left, and I says "men fire

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and kill all you can.", and I drew my own revolver. I had it in my breast coat side pocket.

Q Where were the wounded men taken that night?

A They were taken to the Desplaines stret station.

Q From there they were removed to the County Hospital--the most serious?

A. Yes.

Q Do you remember whether they were moved that night or the next day?

A. They were moved that night.

Q Was McGarigle, the warden of the hospital, there?

A Yes.

Q He superintended the moving of the wounded?

A Yes.

Q Did you hear you marched down the street any of the speaking, or did you hear any other words than you have given--to disburse and "we are peaceable"??

A I heard the words used by somebody used close to the wagon "here come the bloodhounds".

Q You do not know where that came from?

A. No; it was close to Cranes alley, and I will state further, as the shell exploded, a few seconds after, officer John Doyle fell into my arms; he says "Lieutenant, I am wounded; take me to the station house." Says he, "I am going to die." I says, "No, John," so I laid him down. Says I "Lay down on the street We have got to follow these fellows up"; and I laid him on the street, and he was picked up afterwards by some of the men.

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Q And he did not die?

A. He is getting better, but he will be a cripple for life.

Q Where was he injured?

A. Along the things, and body and legs.

Q That was done by the bomb?

A Yes sir. I fired nine shots myself. I reloaded.

Q When your company was marching down the street and before that bomb exploded, where were the arms of your company?

A. In their pockets; they had their revolvers in their pockets and their clubs in their sockets.

Q Do you know anything about the lamps that night along the streets, or did you notice them?

A. I noticed the lamp at Cranes alley; at the southeast corner of the alley; it was out; that is the only lamp that I noticed, because I am acquainted arround those corners for the last 20 years. I noticed that lamp at the southeast corner of Cranes building.

MR. FOSTER: Q. That was out, was it?

A. Yes.

Q It was out when you marched down?

A. Yes, right at the corner of the alley.

Q And the wagon was about two feet north of that?

A Yes, and the wagon was about two feet northeast of the corner of the alley.

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Cross Examination by

Q You were in the third company, that is, counting from the front--- there were two companies in front, and then there were two more companies, and then your company was one of the third platoons?

A. There was Lieut. Steele with a company of 20 odd men, and then Lieut:Quinn with the same, and then I came in. I was the third company.

Q You were at the right of the second division?

A Yes.

Q Where did the bomb fall according to your recollection of it?

A. Well, I know it fel at the center of my company, because the men in the centre of my company were wounded most severely.

Q Just about between the files of your company?

A Yes, something in the rear of my company or the center.

Q How far were you from Randolph street when you heard this remark about the bloodhounds?

A. Just north of the track.

Q How many feet would that be up to where the speakers stand was?

A. About 100 feet

Q Of course you don't undertake to state who spoke those words?

A. I don't know.

Q You say it came from the alley or about there?

A Yes.

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Q You are quite sure the lamp was out at the corner of the alley?

A. Yes.

Q Was there any light there at all?

A. There was kind of a light on the wagon, a kind of torch.

Q Did you hear any shots fired or any bombs exploded?

A Not to my knowledge.

Q That was the first, the explosion of the bombs?

A That was the first I heard.

Q You say that Capt. Ward said "I command you peaceably to disperse"?

A. In the name of the People of the State of Illinois.---

Q I know that, but he used the words "peaceably disperse"?

A. Immediately and peaceably disperse.

Q And the speaker said "we are peaceable"?

A. Yes; he stepped off the wagon.

Q And Capt. Ward had just said "I command you to disperse peaceably"?

A. Yes.

Q And then your idea is that the first explosion was by the bomb?

A. Yes.

Q And you saw no firing from the wagon?

A. Not until after the explosion; there was a good deal of noise there.

Q You saw no firing from the wagon at all, did you?

A Yes, after the explosion I did--- close by the wagon.

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Q I mean from in the wagon?

A. No.

Q You saw no one either in the wagon or getting out of the wagon do any firing?

A. I did not.

Q There was a good many people there on the sidewalk?

A I fired right around the wagon myself.

Q There was a good many people about the sidewaks about there?

A. Yes sir.

Q There was a good deal of excitement of course from the time this bomb exploded and this firing commenced--they were running east and west?

A Yes.

Q And the lights being out it was pretty dark?

A Well, there was light in the wagon; I could not see what it was.

Q That was all the light there was about there?

A That was all the light I noticed, but I noticed Mr. Fielden coming off of the wagon very plainly.

Adjourned to 2 P.M.

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