The Reading Railroad Massacre occurred on July 23, 1877, when strikes in Reading, Pennsylvania, led to an outbreak of violence, during which 10 to 16 people were killed and between 20 and 203 were injured. It was the climax of local events during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 towards the end of the Long Depression of 1873-1879, following arson and riots against local facilities of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. Units of the Pennsylvania State Militia were brought in by train. Near nightfall, one unit was marched into the Seventh Street Cut, a man-made ravine three blocks long with 20-or-30-foot (6.1 or 9.1 m) walls, to free a train that had been stopped by rioters. The soldiers were bombarded from above with bricks, stones, and gunshots, and some of the soldiers fired rifle volleys into a crowd at the far end of the Cut. Between 10 and 16 civilian deaths resulted, along with dozens of injuries. Most rioting ended that night, and tense quiet prevailed the next day. Ultimately, the arrival of federal troops restored order to Reading. A coroner's inquest following the massacre did not blame the militia for the deaths, but pointed to the overall upheaval in the city at the time. Blame was laid upon the local sheriff for failing to keep the public order.
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