Quataert - Chapter06
Locally recruited, active-duty soldiers were part of the labor mix that
state and capital relied upon to extract and deliver coal. Together
with local compulsory labor workers and the free market labor recruited
from outside the region, these soldiers routinely worked in the
coalfield, filling in the persistent gaps in the civilian work force.
They formed an integral part of the solution to the problem of chronic
When voluntary labor had initially proved inadequate back in
the 1840s and 1850s, the 1867 regulations had created a compulsory
labor force of local workers obliged to spend one-half of each month in
mine work. In 1906, as production mounted, free labor from outside the
coalfield was summoned to remedy the defects ascribed by officials to
these village workersâ€”insufficient numbers and a poor work ethic.