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This article appeared in The New Castle Courier
26 May 1898

By Spaniards as first surmised last night.

There was considerable excitement on the streets Thursday night when the report of heavy cannonading was heard rolling up from the usually peaceful valley of Blue River. The noise was heard about nine o'clock and at 9:30 Col. H. L. Shopp had called out his reserves for it was understood that the Spaniards had attacked the city from the West. The Papers have been full of cable dispatches stating that the Cape Verde fleet of warships was hovering in the neighborhood of Cadiz and the citizens were correspondingly anxious. Soon couriers were seen flitting here and there endeavoring to locate the exact position of the gunboats which were supposed to be anchored in the river near the waterworks. Fortifications were hurriedly strengthened and as a considerable portion of the population was quartered in the opera house it was thought best to make a proclamation to the people assembled there cautioning them to show no lights in their various homes.The proclamation was accordingly made by Joseph M. Brown and all being in readiness, Capt. Wilson Shopp lead the advance assisted by Lts. Harry Huddelson, B. R. Presnall and Milt Burk and a full company of followers.The electric light plant had already been damaged by the Spaniards and the advance was made in total darkness. A loud noise as of water being churned into foam confirmed the worst suspicions of the defenders of the city and they made advance cautiously. As no more shots were fired however, they mustered courage and soon arrived at the River Bridge on the Cadiz pike where the cause of the trouble was located. It was found to be a broken gas main of the Citizens gas line and not the Spaniards. The line had broken in mid-river and the escaping gas had kept up a continuous movement of the water. The break was repaired as soon as possible and all were happy once more. New Castle could sleep safe and sound that night thanks to their alert Militia.

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