First page
Page 4

In view of this requisition, orders were issued by Major General Sandford, in consequence of which 1,500 men were gathered together before night, the Seventh Regiment, the National Guard, being specially counted upon by their highest officer, gen. Sandford, as being under arms all day in the city, to be ordered to any point which he should see might need their presence.  As this splendid force paraded the streets it was regarded with a special interest by
all, in view of the condition of things among the officials in the Park.  The regiment, it was known, was on its way to Boston for the Bunker Hill celebration, and much conjecture was expended on the probability of their being countermanded before their embarkation in the Sound boat, chartered for that purpose.  Their identity with nearly all the public difficulties and conflicts of the city, and the fact of their parade, was looked upon as a very significant omen for the possible result to be anticipated for the pending difficulties.


Capt. Walling having failed to arrest mayor Wood on his own personal authority, the Recorder issued a requisition on the Metropolitan Police Commissioners for fifty men, which was speedily filled, and the men marched down to the Park with long clubs, under the command of Sergeant Seabring, of the Ninth Ward Police.


The news of the arrest of the Mayor, by force if necessary,  spread through the city like wild-fire, and gathered around the point of interest, the City Hall, thousands of people of all classes.  The most warlike news was in circulation; tales of terrible deeds already done and rumors of worse yet to come, formed the subject of conversation of every animated group.  Nothing was too improbable or impossible for the for the credulous to swallow.


The advance of the squad of Metropolitans, under the command of Sergeant Seabring, upon the City Hall, was speedily ascertained by Chief Matsell, who took every precaution, and made the most efficient preparations for the preservation of the peace.


Chief Matsell had surrounded the City Hall with several hundred of the old Municipal force; he arranged them with the judgment of an experienced general, and having carefully guarded every avenue, awaited calmly the approach of the advancing foe.


The Metropolitans advanced steadily, and made their first essay upon a basement door at the back of the building; in this attempt they were frustrated.  They then attempted to force the back steps, but the solid phalanx of the Municipals presented an impregnable barrier.  From pushing and hauling they came to blows, when the Metropolitans were nowhere.  The old force handled their clubs with so much grace and vigor, and were also so superior in numbers, that the besiegers turned tail and resigned the contest in terrible disorder, leaving their wounded and incapacitated in the hands of the enemy.  Several of the besieging party were seriously hurt, and received immediate attention.


At twenty-five minutes to four o’clock, being about fifteen minutes after the affray was ended, the National Guard, under the command of Colonel Duryea, numbering upwards of six hundred men, all fully armed and equipped, marched down Broadway on their way to the steamer Plymouth Rock, which they had chartered for the purpose of proceeding to Boston to participate in the celebration of the battle of Bunker Hill.  Upon their arriving in front of the Park, Colonel Duryea received peremptory orders from General Hill to halt.  The regiment was accordingly brought to a stand still, and were immediately marched to the lower end of the Park, and countermarched to within the Park, dispersing the mob from and taking up their quarters within the iron railings, in front of the Hall, ready for action at a moment’s notice.


After the repulsion of the Metropolitan police, the Recorder issued two warrants against Wood, one charging him with resisting the process of the courts, and another with inciting a riot.  These warrants were handed to Captain Speight, of the 21st ward, and Deputy Superintendent Carpenter for service.  Captain Speight visited the Mayor’s office for the purpose of serving his warrant, and shortly after returned and reported to the Recorder that the Mayor refused to recognize his authority, and also that he informed him (Speight)  that he had given bail on one warrant already.  On hearing this the Recorder determined to have the Mayor brought before him.


Recorder – Bring him in here, at all hazards.  You have the force, haven’t you?
Speight – I believe we have, sir.
Recorder – Then bring him here and if necessary take the Seventh Regiment with you, to aid you in the exercise of your duty.  (Addressing General Hall.)   They are armed and equipped, are they not.
General Hall – Yes, they have their fixed bayonets, and one cartridge each.
Recorder – Very well, let them go in with fixed bayonets, they can effect all that is necessary with their bayonets.
Gen. Hall – Very well sir.
Capt. Speight and Gen. Hall then went out again, and shortly afterwards returned, the General informing the Recorder that Major General Sandford had informed him that the Sheriff had already arrested Wood, and had him placed under bail.


John McKibben, Deputy Sheriff served the civil process upon the Mayor; and Coroner Perry served Recorder Smith’s criminal process upon the Mayor.  Both were received with politeness by his Honor, and he immediately gave the required talk.


Finding the clubs of the policemen were all sufficient to preserve the peace, the noble National Guard was permitted to depart upon its pleasure trip, and they left amid the cheers of  the people.


The appeal to club law having been disposed of, the issue is now left to the courts of law.  Several actions have been commenced against the Mayor, the sums demanded for bail being nearly six thousand dollars.  The decision of the Court of Appeals as to the constitutionality of the new charter will be given in a few days.  If the decision sustains the Mayor, all these suits will, we presume, be abandoned; if not. Fernando Wood will have called upon himself a nest of hornets whose stings it will be difficult to extract.  But we have no doubt that he will be cordially sustained in the position he has taken in defense of the inalienable rights of the City of New York.


 ~~~~ End of the Report ~~~~
Next Page
©2003 The Composing Stack Inc. ©2003 Gregory J. Christiano