E. C. HERBERT. The Greatest Rail Strike in History: Death Rides the 401. Createspace. 328 pages; paperback, $9.79; Kindle, $.99. Amazon.com.
William O’Toole, an ex-gunfighter and now ex-worker for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, was fed up with the way the railroad workers were being underpaid and mistreated by the company. Something had to be done, and he was the man to see that it got done. O’Toole began, in early July of 1877, to rally the workers into a strike, to force the heads of the B & O Railroad to give them fair pay for the work they’d been doing for years. Former Confederate Major Randall McMasters, with his own hand-picked band of Regulators and a Pinkerton detective hired to stay in the shadows and guard him, boarded the 401, one of the locomotives owned by B & O, and headed out for Pittsburgh from Martinsburg, West Virginia. Each man had an agenda. One to bring the B & O Railroad to its knees, the other to stop an impending bloody war.