TIH: June 30, 1892- The Homestead Strike
Frick had ordered the construction of a solid board fence topped with barbed wire around mill property. The workers dubbed the newly fortified mill "Fort Frick." With the mill ringed by striking workers, agents from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which Frick had contracted to provide security at the plant in April 1892, planned to access the plant grounds from the river. Three hundred Pinkerton detectives assembled on the Davis Island Dam on the Ohio River about five miles (8 km) below Pittsburgh at 10:30 p.m. on the night of July 5, 1892. They were given Winchester rifles, placed on two specially-equipped barges and towed upriver with the object of removing the workers by force. Upon their landing, a large mêlée between workers and Pinkerton detectives ensued. Several men were killed, nine workers among them, and the riot was ultimately quelled only by the intervention of 8,000 armed state militia. Among working-class Americans, Frick's actions against the strikers were condemned as excessive, and he soon became a target of even more union organizers.