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Marines Were Given a ‘Shoot to Kill’ Order on a Train Leaving Union Station in 1921

In 1921, the Secretary of Treasury, Edwin Denby, issued a 'shoot to kill' order to the Marines on a train leaving Union Station in Washington. Read the full story here!
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Washington Times headline November 23rd 1921
Washington Times headline November 23rd 1921

What a headline to draw you in. I couldn’t resist, so I read this piece from The Washington Times, printed on November 23rd, 1921 (also the day the Sheppard-Towner Act was signed to provide federal funding for maternity and child care). Morris Sheppard, but the way, was the guy that authored the 18th Amendment (i.e., the one that started Probibition).

Train number nine of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was leaving Union Station at 10:20 pm, bound for Pittsburgh. Marines evidently had a shoot to kill order from the Secretary of Treasury, Edwin Denby (check out this family Christmas photo of Denby).

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Below is an excerpt from the article.

It was stated this morning that the first clash of the marines with the bandits occured as the train was speeding between Rhode Island avenue and University station.

According to a report made to the police this morning by Fred R. White, yardmaster in the employ of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, he was told that several marines noticed the alleged bandits trying to get into the mail car after the train left Washington.

article excerpt
article excerpt

They are said to have fired on the alleged bandits, but it is not known here whether or not any of the shots took effect.

The reporting euphemism “any of the shots took effect” is perfect.

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Enjoy daily

Ghosts of DC stories.