Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of William Ward, 1886 July 20.

Volume I, 427-444, 18 p.
Ward, William.
Captain, Chicago Police Department.

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

Led the police to the Haymarket and then commanded the crowd to disperse just before the bomb exploded. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): Greif's Hall (vol.I 441), position of the defendants and others on the speakers' wagon (vol.I 433), street lights and/or lights on the wagon (vol.I 442), actions of police during the Haymarket meeting (vol.I 428), Captain Ward's command to disperse (vol.I 429), Fielden's response to the police advance at Haymarket (vol.I 429), time and place origination of the gunfire (vol.I 430), Fielden, Samuel (vol.I 435).

Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents
[Image, Volume I, Page 427]

William Ward,

a witness for the people, having been duly sworn, was examined chief by Mr. Grinnell, and testified as follows:

Q What is your name?

A William Ward.

Q You are Captain on the police force?

A Yes sir.

Q How long have you been captain of the police force?

A About six months, I think, six or eight months.

Q How long have you been upon the police force of the City of Chicago?

A Since August, 1870.

Q How long have you resided in Chicago?

A About thirty-six years--a little over.

Q You were also, during the Rebellion, in the army?

A Yes sir.

Q You are now stationed, and have been for sometime, at Des Plaines street station?

A Yes sir.

Q You are the captain of that station--located at that station?

A Captain of that precinct.

Q Do you remember the night of May 4th, last?

A I do.

Q State what occurred, from the time that your men came out. You marched down the street. I will ask you first, how many men were in line that night marching down that street or up there?

[Image, Volume I, Page 428]

A I think there were between one hundred and seventy-five and a hundred and eighty.

Q Now tell them, and give them in the order in which they were--the companies, if you please.

A Well, at the time we went out we fell in on Waldo Place between Des Plaines and Union streets and marched east on Waldo Place street the right of the line struck the east side of Des Plaines street and the command was given by the left flank, which brought two companies front marching north on Des Plaines street, and when the next two companies came on to the east side of Des Plaines street, the command was given to them by the left flank, and they also marched, and so on until the last companies.

Q Now when you were on Des Plaines street did they march down the street? As you proceeded, just give the names of those companies in the order in which they came, from the beginning, clear through to the rear?

A Well, Lt. Steele and Lt. Quinn commanded the two first companies

A JUROR--That is the front line?

A On the front line, And Lt. Bowler, Lt. Stanton, the second line, and Lt. Hubbard the third line, Lt. Penzen and Lt. Beard the fourth line.

MR. GRINNELL--Q--Where were they located finally?

A They were in the rear.

Q To close up Randolph street?

A Yes sir.

Q Then Hubbard really brought up the rear of the companies that

[Image, Volume I, Page 429]

marched to the meeting?

A Hubbard brought up the rear of the five companies that marched down to the meeting.

Q Now, proceed.

A When we got to the alley known as Crane's Alley, just north of Randolph street, there was a large crowd of people there, and a man upon a truck wagon making a speech, and I walked towards him and commanded them to disperse in the name of the People of the State of Illinois, immediately and peaceably, and I called upon several people in the crowd to assist me; when he got from the wagon, and as he was getting from the wagon he says "We are peaceable."

Q Who was that?

A That was that gentelman over there, (indicating).

Q Fielden?

A Yes, I think that is the name.

Q Did you hear any of the speaker's utterances before you made your talk to them?

A I did, but could not understand what they were saying-- quite a noise there.

Q How were your men armed?

A With clubs and pistols.

Q Where were their clubs and pistols?

A Well, they were in their belts and sockets---clubs, and pistols in their pockets.

Q Well, what was the first thing that happened after Fielden said "We are peaceable".

[Image, Volume I, Page 430]

A Well, a few seconds after he said "We are peaceable", I heard the explosion.

Q In your rear?

A In my rear.

Q Then what happened?

A I turned and looked to see and pistol firing began from in front and on both sides of the street.

Q Was the pistol furing begun by the crowd?

A By the crowd, yes; it came from in front of us and on each side of the street, immediately afterwards.

Q How many pistol shots, Captain Ward, from that crowd?

A Well, I could hardly tell. There was quite a number of them.

Q Before the police fired?

A There was a great many---quite scattering.

Q Fifty or a hundred?

A Quite a scattering volley.

Q Now, where was that volley? Where did it come from--was it general?

A In front, on both sides of the street.

Q In the vicinity of the wagon?

A Well, from the wagon and rear of it--that way; saw the flashes

Q Did you see anybody fire, that is, did you recognize anybody?

A I did not recognize anybody.

Q Well, what happened then?

A Then the police began firing and we charged into the alley, into Crane's Alley, and north on Des Plaines street.

[Image, Volume I, Page 431]

Q How many were killed from that attack that night?

A There were seven died from the effects of the wounds. One, I believe, was brought into the station house dead. He was dead when I saw him in the station house.

Q That is Degan?

A Yes sir; M.J.Degan.

Q Mathias J. Degan.

A Yes.

Q How many were wounded of the whole one hundred and seventy-five or hundred and eighty?

A There was in all killed and wounded, I should judge, fifty or sixty-six or sixty-seven.

Q Can you give the companies from which they came?

A Well, I had a list of them.

Q To save time, if possible, --I do not desire to put on the officer of every company, to find out as to his own company how many men were killed; I want generally, if you can give us the company.

A No sir, I cannot tell you.

Q Do you know how many were out of your own station?

A There was, I should judge, about twenty-one or two out of the Des Plaines street station.

Q Yes, out of Des Plaines street?

A Yes sir.

Q That would be your precinct?

A Well, yes, I have two other stations.

[Image, Volume I, Page 432]

Q Well, out of other stations, do you remember how many?

A There was forty-two, in all I think.

Q Forty-two out of your own precinct?

A Out of my precinct.

Q That includes wounded and dead?

A Wounded and dead.

Q What time of evening was this, Captain?

A Well, I think it was a little after ten o'clock. People disagree on the time. I did not think it was as late as some of the witnesses testified it was; I thought it was a little earlier.

Q How much time do you suppose, in your estimation of time-- how much time elapsed between the time that Fielden said "We are peaceable", and the time the police charged down the alley and up Des Plaines street?

A Oh, I judge--well, it wasn't very long; several seconds.

Q Was it a minute?

A No sir, it was not a minute.

Q Two minutes?

A I don't think it was half a minute.

Cross Examination by Mr. Black.

Q Captain, did you have a detail there that night from the Central police station?

A Yes sir.

Q Under whose command particularly was that?

A Lt. George W. Hubbard.

[Image, Volume I, Page 433]

Q In what part of the force was he located?

A The 5th company.

Q He brought up the rear then, of the force that moved forward to the meeting?

A Yes.

Q How many companies were there in all, in your command?

A Seven.

Q Where were the two rear companies, the 6th and 7th located at the time of the explosion of the bomb, if you know?

A I could not tell.

Q Do not know?

A No sir. Quite a distance in the rear and I could not tell where they were.

Q It was yourself that gave the command for the dispersal of the assembly, I understand?

A Yes sir.

Q From your testimony as well as the testimony of others. -- Where were you situated at the time you gave that command, with reference to the wagon?

A I was on right close to the rear part of the wagon, close to the outside wheel.

Q Were you south of the wheel or west of it or southwest?

A I was southwest.

Q And about how far from it, if you remember?

A Well, I could almost touch it.

Q Couldn't you quite have touched it if you had reached out your hand?

[Image, Volume I, Page 434]

A Well, I could with my club. I had my club in my hand; I could have touched it.

Q Touched it with your club? Where were your officers carrying your pistols that night? You say they were armed with pistols and clubs?

A Yes.

Q Where were they carrying their pistols?

A In their pockets.

Q Which pocket?

A Some carry their pistols in the breast pocket, some in the hip pocket.

Q The breast pocket of the coat, you mean?

A Yes sir.

Q Now, who stood next to you on the police force at the time you gave this command?

A Inspector Bonfield.

Q Did he stand upon your right or your left?

A My left.

Q Do you remember noticing where Lt. Steele stood at the time?

A I think he was in rear of me; might have been a little to the right.

A According to your recollection how near was the front rank of Steele's Company, which occupied the right, as I understand, of the 1st Division, to the rear of the truck? --At the time of the halt, and at the time you gave the order to disperse?

A Not more than six or eight feet.

Q And you stood in advance of course, of that division?

[Image, Volume I, Page 435]

A Yes sir.

Q And up so that, as you say, you could have reached the wagon with your club?

A Yes sir.

Q Standing a little to the southwest of the wheel?

A Right southwest of it.

Q Now, how many were on the wagon at the time that you halted and gave the order to disperse, if your remember?

A I think there were four or five or six persons on the wagon.

Q Among them, you recognize Mr. Fielden here?

A The only one that I recognize is Mr. Fielden.

Q Had you known Fielden before that?

A No sir.

Q Ever see him before that to recognize him?

A No sir, never saw him before.

Q What was the first time after that occasion that you saw Fielden?

A I think it was the next day at the Coroner's inquest held in the City Clerk's office.

Q Now, when you gave this order where was Fielden standing on the truck?

A He was standing on the south end of the truck.

Q Facing in what direction, if you remember?

A I think he was facing southwest.

Q Southwest?

A Southwest or west.

[Image, Volume I, Page 436]

Q Wasn't he about facing you when you commenced to speak?

A Yes.

Q And he stood facing you until you were through speaking, did he not?

A Yes.

Q Then I understand you he got off the truck?

A Yes sir.

Q At what part of the truck did he descend?

A On the southeast end of it.

Q In other words, he got off the south end of the truck, but on the corner toward the sidewalk.

A Sidewalk.

Q Did he say anything else that you now remember than the expression you have quoted? "We are peaceable?"

A That is all I heard Mr. Fielden--that I could understand him-- to say.

Q Now, did you notice what became of Fielden after he dismounted from the truck?

A No sir.

Q Didn't see him after that?

A Didn't see him after that.

Q What was the first explosion of any kind that you heard?

A That bomb.

Q The bomb?

A Yes sir.

Q That was the first. There was no pistol firing of any kind by anybody?

[Image, Volume I, Page 437]

A No sir.

Q As I understand until several seconds after the bomb exploded-- two or three seconds, you think?

A Well, almost immediately after the bomb exploded the pistol firing begun.

Q Well, I understood you to say--I don't want to misunderstand you---but I understood you to say two or three seconds in your direct testimony. Was it that much or was it less?

A No sir; I believe it was---well, it might have been a couple of seconds.

Q A couple of seconds. Yet, as I said, there was no pistol firing of any kind by anybody until after that?

A No sir; not until after the bomb exploded.

Q After the bomb exploded you say you think it was not more than half a minute until the police charged that crowd.

A No sir; it was not half a minute; I do not think it was more than a quarter of a minute.

Q There was but one bomb, I understand?

A That is all I heard. I guess if there were more than that, I should have heard it. I guessed there were more; that is all I heard.

Q Do you remember, Captain, how the men from the Central station who were under Lt. Hubbard were, with reference to their arms?

A I hardly remember now how they were.

Q They had their pistols in their hands, didn't they?

A Well, that I could not say, for they were the 5th company. They were way in rear of me. That I cannot say anything about.

[Image, Volume I, Page 438]

Q Don't remember just distinctly?

A Well, I could not see them anyhow; they were away in the rear of me.

Q Now, in the march from the station to the meeting, you were all the time a little in advance of your front rank were you not-that was your position?

A Yes.

Q About how far in front of the front rank, if you remember?

A Well, sometimes eight or ten feet; sometimes not so far.

Q Have you stated all that you heard in the progress of that march up to the time of the explosion of the bomb that you can now remember?

A Yes I have.

Q The only utterance from any source that you can now recall that was heard by you before the bomb exploded was this utterance of Fielden "We are peaceable".

A "We are peaceable". He spoke to me.

Q He spoke to you?

A Yes, he spoke to me, or, looking right at me, when he spoke.

Q There isn't much difference, and yet in matters of that kind words sometimes count. I want to ask you, Captain, whether or not Fielden's remark was not substantially this: to you, made to you as you have just explained and made in response to your command that the meeting quietly and peaceably disperse--immediately and peaceably? That was the term, I believe, you used?

A Yes sir.

[Image, Volume I, Page 439]

Q Immediately and peaceably? Wasn't his expression "Why, Captain, this is a peaceable meeting?" Or "We are a peaceable meeting?"

A "We are peaceable."

Q "We are peaceable?"

A Yes sir.

Q You think, he used no other words than those?

A That is all and the very words he used. I will never forget it.

Q Do you remember how he uttered that expression, with reference to the emphasis or the tone in which he uttered it?

A Well, it was a little louder than ordinary, than if he was addressing me.

Q Do you remember on what word he laid the accent?

A No, I do not.

Q Wasn't it with the accent upon the word, "are"? "We are peaceable"?--Spoken in that way?

A No sir; I misunderstood you, captain. I think it was on the last syllable--"We are peaceable."

Q You think it was on the last word--"We are peaceable."

A Yes sir.

Q You think that is the way he spoke it?

A Yes sir.

Q And that it was spoken directly to you?

A Well, looking toward me when he spoke.

Q You were a witness before the Coroner's Jury, were you not?

A Yes sir.

[Image, Volume I, Page 440]

Q Do you remember whether or not on that occasion you spoke of this utterance or expression of Fielden?

A I don't remember.

Q Isn't it a fact now, according to your best recollection that you did not then mention it?

A Well, then, I could not be positive whether I mentioned that or not.

Q This utterance of Fielden's addressed to you was made while he was yet on the wagon? Just before he dismounted?

A Got off the wagon.

Q He was in the act of getting off?

A Well, he was between off and on, a little more off than he was on

Q But he faced toward you as he said it and said it to you?

A Yes.

Q By the way, Captain, do you remember where your front rank-that is the front rank of Steele and Quinn--was with reference to the alley and the north line of the alley particularly?

A I think that Lt. Steele was about eight feet from the wagon-- his line; but Quinn's had swung a little further forward.

Q A little further on the west?

A On the west. On the west side of the street--it wasn't a very good line kept up there, or didn't hear the command Halt, or something of that sort; his lines swung a little further to the front than Steele's.

Q You remember those steps going up into Crane Brothers' factory there, from that sidewalk, don't you--the location of them?

[Image, Volume I, Page 441]

A Four or five steps?

Q Yes sir.

A Yes sir.

Q A little north from the alley?

A I do.

Q Do you remember where the wagon was with reference to those steps?

A I think the wagon was--oh, quite a distance south of these steps.

Q South?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you notice specially as to that?

A No sir. I did not, not that night. I know the building.

Q Yes, you know the building very well, but I mean with reference to the relative location. Was Steele's line, if you remember between the north line of the alley projected into the street and the wagon, or was it a little south of the north line of the alley projected?

A I think he was a little north of the north line of the alley.

Q Standing really a little between the north line of the alley projected and the wagon? No I think not. I think that Lt. Steele --Lt. Steele's command were about on a line with the center of the alley.

Q Then when you said a little north you did not mean north?

A No sir; I meant south; I beg your pardon.

Q You said north.

A Yes---A little south.

[Image, Volume I, Page 442]

Q You think that his front line was a little south of the alley?

That is your present recollection?

A Yes.

Q What light was there that night that you remember?

A Well, I don't remember what the lights was there, but I know south of there a block and a half, there was I guess, eight or ten electric lights on the front of the Lyceum Theatre, and they lit up the streets considerably.

Q And they lit up Des Plaines street all up through there?

A Yes sir, making a very powerful light there.

Q But you did not notice specially what the lights were right there at that location?

A No sir, I did not.

Q Did you see anything else that night that specially attracted your attention prior to the explosion of the bomb that you have not suggested in your testimony--anything that attracted your attention in any way?

A Nothing that I remember of.

Q I suppose, of course, you have talked over the details of the 4th of May with Inspector Bonfield and with other officers that were there with you, since the occurrence?

A Certainly; we have talked them over.

Q Did you have your attention either that night or the next morning particularly called to the exact spot where the bomb struck on the street?

A I don't remember whether it was the morning or the afternoon,

[Image, Volume I, Page 443]

but I went up there to see for myself.

Q Where it struck?

A Out of curiosity, yes.

Q Did you locate it to your own satisfaction?

A Well, no. Some of the men that were on that line pointed out a certain place on the street where it fell.

Q Well, I say, did you ascertain the location of it to your own satisfaction?

A No sir, I did not.

Q Was there anything in the street itself at the time you went over there? That was, I understand, the next day that you went over there, the 5th of May, was it?

A The 5th of May, yes.

Q Was there anything about the street itself to show where the bomb had lit or where it had exploded?

A Well, I could not tell, for the wagons had been traveling over there all day and covered it over.

Q And there was nothing at the time you went there which enabled you to locate it exactly or positively?

A No sir, nothing.

Q You say some of the officers carried their pistols in the side pocket of the coat, and some in the hip pocket?

A Generally.

Q Generally. Well, that night do you know whether or not the pistols were all carried--that is, of the force, were carried in the side pocket of the coat?

A No sir, I could not tell.

[Image, Volume I, Page 444]

Q Could not tell as to that?

A I could not tell who carried them so, or who carried them in the side pockets--in the hip pockets.

Q Is the location of the carrying of the pistol left to the discretion of the officer when the force is in action?

A Well, no. There is a pistol pocket made in the overcoat and a pistol pocket made for the pants, and it is discretionary whether they should carry them in the coat pocket or the pants pocket.

Q That is left to their discretion?

A Yes sir.

Q Was that so that night, do you remember? Or were they under directions to have their pistols in their side pockets?

A They had no directions as to the pistols, where to carry them.

Q Capt. Ward what is your recollection as to whether or not there was any torch or light of any kind on the truck?

A I have no recollection.

Q You do not remember observing any light there?

A I do not remember whether there was a light there or not.

Q You say you do not remember observing that there was a light there?

A No, I do not.

Recess until 2 P.M.

Return to Top of this Witness
Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents