First page
Page 3
Lets back up a bit and return to June when the Municipals and Metropolitans were at each other’s throats.  Mayor Wood resisted an order to disband and the Metropolitan Police Board ordered his arrest.  He was hold up in City Hall the day he was to be arrested. On officer came there to serve the warrant but was beaten off.  A force of 50 Metropolitan Police returned later that day to enforce the warrant and arrest Mayor Wood.  His 300 Municipals, in the building, protected him and assaulted the Metropolitans.  This was the account and aftermath.
From Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, June 27, 1857.


To those of our distant readers who, far removed from the influences of our great city, take but little interest in its internal quarrels, and who hearing of wars and rumors of wars,
and are yet unconscious of how the fight began. A brief account of the causes which led to the present state of disorganization which exists in New York, will prove both interesting and instructive.
The recent Legislature adopted a new charter for the city of New York, many of the provisions of which interfered with the existing rights of officers and were conflicting with the charter already in force.  Still the Legislature adopted the charter and the new officers were appointed by the Governor, and not by the will of the citizens and armed with what they deemed sufficient authority, proceeded to fulfill the duties appertaining to their offices.  The Police Commissioners commenced to organize their new forces, and to discharge all the old police officers who did not acknowledge their right to act.  
Now Mayor Wood, believing the main features of the new  charter a wanton usurpation of the inalienable rights of the citizens of New York, refused to recognize its legality, placed an injunction to restrain the new Commissioners from acting, and put the matter for a legal testing of its constitutionality.  Injunctions were multiplied, granted and regained, and after a week or two of legal quibble, the Police Commissioners and other officers under the new charter went to work in good earnest, pending the final decision of the Court of Appeals.  It must be clearly understood that for several weeks past we have had two organized police forces, the old, a large and well drilled body of men under the charge of Mayor Wood and the other regular city officers, and the new, literally, the new body under the control of the Metropolitan Police Commissioners.  Notwithstanding this duality of city guardians, there were no more murders, robberies and assaults, than usual.  All this time war was progressing, although no overt act was committed, the arms used as yet being only the tongue of bitter rivalry and hate.
But on Tuesday, the 16th inst., the difficulty was brought to a climax under the following circumstances.  By the death of Joseph S. Taylor, the Street Commissioner, a
few days since, that office became vacant, and the Governor of the State at once appointed this important city officer.  On Monday, the 15th, the new incumbent, Mr. Conover, presented himself at the office of the department, but was refused admission by Mr. Turner, the deputy and now acting Street Commissioner.  Mr. Conover, not being permitted to enter “the holy of holies” of the office, planted himself and some of his clerks inside the railing of the outer office, and proceeded to transact business pertaining to his duties.  So for that day we had two acting Street Commissioners, in all probability one countermanding what the other ordered and refusing what the other granted.   Still everything went on smoothly until the time for closing the office arrived.  Mr. Conover was then ordered to quit the premises, and on positively refusing so to do he was ejected with only so much force as was necessary to overcome his resistance.  This created a visible excitement among the hundreds of idlers, loafers and others who had been hanging around the office all day, in the hopeful expectation of a “muss” (sic) of some kind or the other.  The excitement spread through the political circles of the city, and the mutual feelings of indignation and hate grew stronger and stronger until it reached explosion point by the following morning, when the grand coup d’etat  was determined upon and put into execution.


On Tuesday, the 16th, Mr. Conover again presented himself at the Department  of the Street Commissioner, and being refused admittance, applied to Judge Hoffman of the Superior Court for warrants against Fernando Wood, James C. Willet and John W. Bennett for assault and battery.  He commenced two suits, one criminal and the other civil, laying his damages at $10,000.  The warrants were granted and placed in the hands of certain officers to serve, the bail in each case being $5,000.


One warrant was placed in the hands of Capt. Walling of the Metropolitan force, who gained access to the Mayor and displayed his authority.  The Mayor could not without receding from the position has taken throughout the difficulty, recognize the authority under which Capt. Walling held his office, and said to him that he was no officer and that the warrant must be presented by some one else, at the same time ordering Walling to leave the room, which he refusing to do, was summarily ejected.


Fearing that some extreme action would be taken, which might lead to disturbance and perhaps blood shed, the Mayor addressed the following note to the General in command:

            June 16, 1857
SIR, - You will please hold the militia under your  command in readiness to protect the city in case of riot, subject to my orders.
Very respectfully,
                    FERNANDO WOOD, Mayor
       Gen. C. W. Sandford.
©2003 The Composing Stack Inc. ©2003 Gregory J. Christiano