Previous Page
First page
Next Page
Page 3
The precise manner in which the riot was quelled seemed to be at present a matter of doubt, or at least of dispute.  
FIRST – Deputy Carpenter says that hearing that the assailants were making fearful havoc from the tops of  the houses, he issued an order for the force to retire, leaving the belligerent parties to settle the matter for themselves.  He had no design to leave his men in such an indefensible situation to be struck down.  He did not
seem to have any very distinct idea what was done.
SECOND – Officer Shangle states that he, in company with another Metropolitan officer, named Ellis, went down to Baxter street while the fight was at its height, and within passing through Baxter street, near Anthony or Worth street, saw a man in a window pelting the crowd below with brickbats and stones.  He tried  to get to him, but could not at first, but finally succeeded in battering down the door, when he found that the mass, together with two women, had nearly a bushel of stones and brickbats, with which they were firing away in good earnest.  They took the man and one of the women prisoners and carried them off to the Tombs.  They then returned and found that the police had left, and the rioters were still at work.  They then disguised themselves and went among the Bowery boys, representing themselves as deputy sheriffs, and that unless the riot stopped they would have to call out the military.   The Bowery boys said they would stop if the others would, and the officers assured them that they would, and were thereupon allowed to tear down the barricade.  The officers then proceeded to the other side, where they made similar representations, and were also allowed to tear down their barricade, which was composed of wagons, carts, &c., in Bayard street, near Mulberry.  The Bowery boys’ barricade was in Bayard street, near Elizabeth, composed of similar materials.  This is officer Shangle’s account of the manner in which the riot was terminated.  He says that as they were going to the wards the party in Mulberry street, the latter fired and shot a man but a short distance from him, but desisted on the supposition that they were deputy sheriffs.
The THIRD statement is by Alderman Clancy, that he went to the parties to persuaed them to desist of their own accord, which they did.  He says that the metropolitans were driven off every time, and that they did not quell the riot.  Himself, Captain Dowling and Judge Brennan were parading the ward, using their personal influence in procuring peace.
Whichever may be the true statement, it is certain that about 7 ¼ o’clock, after the muskets had been freely used, and the list of killed, wounded and arrested became rather large, the riot died out, doubtless more from lack of strength to continue it than anything else.  The following requisition upon General Sandford was made by Mr. Draper: -
                                                         NEW YORK, JULY 4, 1857.     }
There has been several assaults upon our force; our man are attacked from various quarters.  Already fatal wounds, it is feared, have been inflicted.  Our forces have been striving against companies of men seeming to be under the orders of experienced policemen and others of this character from point to point.   You will, therefore, call for the requisite force to restore order, and assist the civil force in preventing further havoc among our citizens.  Your obedient servant,             SIMEON  DRAPER,
President Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners,

In accordance with this requisition Gen. Sandford ordered out the Seventh Regiment, Col. Duryea; Eight Regiment, Col. Lyons; Seventy-first Regiment, Col. Vosburg, who were held in reserve at their respective quarters all last night and yesterday, but were not ordered to the scene of the riot.
The accounts as to the origin of the riot are of course various.  At the Metropolitan Commissioner’s office they state that on Friday night Alderman Clancy came there and requested the Commissioners to authorize Captain Dowling and the old police force to remain on duty in the Sixth ward for a few days, he being fearful that a breach of peace would occur there; that Mr. Draper said that they could not give them any permission to act as officers; that they would take charge of the ward and endeavor to keep the peace; and it would be degrading to the commission to recognize the old force; that the other parties called and reported seemingly in concert; that unless the old force were allowed to retain their position the peace would not be preserved.
Alderman Clancy states that he did make the tender of the service of the old police, not expecting any special disturbance, but knowing that as usual there would very probably be an ordinary Sixth ward Fourth of July muss, (sic) that the old police were acquainted with the ward and citizens and would be more likely to preserve the peace; had he knew nothing or any particular anticipated outbreak, but acted only with reference to the general interest of the ward.
The most authentic statement of the cause of this difficulty is, that the belligerent parties had an old grudge growing out of the last election, that they then had a rather rough encounter, and took this occasion to renew it; that the appearance of the metropolitan police was alone the occasion of their being attacked; that there was no preconcerted design of drawing them out and sacrificing them; but that the whole thing was an ordinary, or rather extraordinary Sixth ward muss, (sic)rendered more disastrous from the appearance of the police force, against which the residents of that locality have an undoubtedly strong prejudice.
*     *     *     *     *     *
We gather the following particulars as to the final commencement of the row from a reliable source: -
About half past one o’clock on the morning of Saturday some men attached to a party of Sixth ward thieves and rowdies, calling themselves the Dead Rabbit party, while passing through the Bowery in the vicinity of the Bowery theatre attacked two of the metropolitan policemen – one of whom, named Abraham Florentine, of the Sixth precinct, fled for safety to the bar room at No. 40 Bowery, the headquarters of the Bowery boys.  The door of the place was immediately closed, when the Dead Rabbits commenced stoning the windows, and forcing open the door.  Finding that they could not get in at the policeman in the house, they turned on Officer Lord, of the Sixth ward, who happened to be passing at the time, whom they chased into the coffee and cake saloon to the basement of No. 36 Bowery.  They then commenced an attack on the place also smashing the door, windows and everything they could get at from the sidewalk, until forcibly driven off by the party from the saloon, as stated in Alderman Francis’ statement.
About five o’clock we first saw a number of men running from the Bowery down Bayard street.  We immediately closed up the place and proceeded to the plaza on Bayard street, where we saw two parties to conflict in Bayard street.  The Bowery boys were between Elizabeth street and the Bowery in Bayard street, in the Dead Rabbit party were between Elizabeth and Mott streets in Bayard.   At times the Dead Rabbits would drive the Bowery boys a short distance up and then the Bowery boys would rally and drive the Dead Rabbits back to the corner of Mulberry street.  The firing of stones, brickbats, &c., from the Dead Rabbits was kept up with briskness, a number of women and children being busily engaged in gathering and breaking up stones, brickbats, &c., in their aprons and handkerchiefs in the streets and carrying them to those on the housetops to fire down on the crowd.  We saw a great many persons on the Dead Rabbit side shot down by the Bowery boys, while the Bowery boys did not seem to be at all injured by the firing of the Dead Rabbits.  The Bowery boys first took up their position at a pile of bricks in Bayard, between Mott and Elizabeth streets, from which they were driven up Bayard beyond Elizabeth street, after a very hard fought battle, by the Dead Rabbits.  At this position they hastily erected a barricade, behind which they took shelter during the remainder of the fight.
Next Page
©2003 The Composing Stack Inc. ©2003 Gregory J. Christiano