Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 9, Part 2

By Holice and Debbie


During the riot week all the station houses were left inadequately guarded, and great courage and judgment were shown in their preservation. Sergeants Loudon and McConnell successively took charge of the Seventh Precinct station house, No. 247 Madison Street, Sergeant Miller was guardian of the Eighth, No. 127 Wooster, where seven hundred and fifty-one refugees were cared for during the week. The house of the Tenth precinct, Essex market, was attacked on Monday evening. The mob was driven off by Officers Wood and McCloud, and Officer King of the Third district court, aided by many citizens and surgeon Wells and Sergeant Garland of the Seventh Precinct, who was stationed at the Tenth as telegraph operator. Sergeant Upham was left in care of the eleventh precinct station, Union Market. Captain Relay and Sergeant Sandford were reinforced by special constables at the Twelfth's station house, Harlem. Sergeant Wares and Officer Bertholf were very active, especially in collecting information as to riotous plots. Sergeant M. B. Wilson guarded the Twenty-seventh station, No. 117 Cedar Street. Officer Carroll was twice knocked down while reconnoitering. Sergeant Flandreau, Patrolman Crosby and Doorman Malone, not only protected the state of the Thirty-second Precinct, but also, by their firm attitude, prevented a riot, keeping the disaffected unaware of the lack of Police protection while the main force was doing duty downtown.

It may have been remarked that the Thirtieth Precinct, of Manhattanville, has not been mentioned. The force was only actively employed for a few hours; but to the excellence of the arrangements made by Captain J. Hartt, aided b y Sergeant Blake and other officers, the continued peace of the district may be attributed. He returned to the city as soon as he heard of them, reporting for duty at headquarters on Thursday evening.

On Sunday, the Eighteenth, a large body of Police under Captain Dickson, of the Twenty-eighth, started for at four of the small towns along the Hudson. They were accompanied by a body of troops. They remained away three days, and completely subdued all tendencies to revolt that might have existed among the rural population. The day after their return, a visit to Staten Island--where there had been rioting--was made, and on the next day Flushing, L. I., was visited.

It would be unfair to close the record of this troublous week without a word regarding the services of some other attaches of the Police system. The detective force did most valuable service in discovering the plans of rioters, and at opportune moments arresting the most dangerous ringleaders. Those who thus distinguished themselves, besides Chief young, were Messrs. Bennett, McCord, Farley, Roach, Radford, Smith, Slowey, Dusenbury, Macdougal, Elder, Eustace, Wilson, Kelso, Lieman, and Keefe. Mr. Slowey was recognized by rioters and severely beaten.

The telegraph operators also did excellent work, above all in repairing lines broke by the rioters. In this they ran desperate risks, often having to personate rioters in order to save life and limb. They were Superintendent Crowley, and Messrs. Eldred Polhamus, Charles l. Chapin, John A. K. Duvall, and James Lucas. Captain Lord and Officers Johns, Van Orden, and McTaggart, of the Sanitary Police, were singled out for commendation; also officer Wells, of the Broadway Squad, for his humanity in protecting Negroes near the Astor House, on Monday. Honorable mention was also made of Clerks Daniel B. Hasbrouck, George Hopcroft, and Horace A. Bliss, and Headquarter's messenger Alexander Stewart.

The number of persons known to have been killed by the rioters was eighteen, eleven of whom were colored: Officer Dibble was accidentally killed by the soldiers. It is estimated that the number of rioters killed, or who died from the effect of their wounds, was bout twelve hundred. Probably seven or eight thousand persons altogether were more or less injured. Over fifty buildings were burned, including the Colored Orphans Asylum, two Police Stations, and three Provost Marshal's offices. A great number of stores and dwellings, were sacked. The whole history of the week was disastrous in a degree that it is to be hoped, New York will never know again.

During the week following the riot the Board of Police Commissioners issued an address to the force, which contained the following:

"Of the inspectors, Captains, and Sergeants of Police who led parties in the fearful contest, we are proud to say that none faltered or failed. Each was equal to the hour and the emergency. Not one failed to overcome the danger, however imminent, or to defeat the enemy, however numerous. Especial commendation is due to Drill Sergeant Copeland for his most valuable aid in commanding the movement of larger detachments of the Police. The Patrolmen who were on duty fought through the numerous and fierce conflicts with the steady courage of veteran soldiers, and have won, as they deserve, the highest commendations from the public and from this Board. In their ranks there was neither faltering nor struggling. Devotion to duty and courage in the performance of it were universal. The public and the department owe a debt of gratitude to the citizens who voluntarily became Special Patrolmen, some three thousand of whom, for several days and nights, did regular Patrolmen's duty with great effect. In the name of the public, and of the department in which they were volunteers, we thank them.

"Mr. Crowley, the Superintendent of the Police telegraph, and the attaches of his department, by untiring and sleepless vigilance in transmitting information by telegraph unceasingly through more than ten days and nights, have more than sustained the high reputation they have always possessed.

"Through all these bloody contests, through all the wearing fatigue and wasting labor, you have demeaned yourselves like worthy members of the Metropolitan Police. The public judgment will commend and reward you. A kind Providence has permitted you to escape with less casualties than could have been expected * * * * * Sergeant Young, of the Detective force, aided by Mr. Newcomb and other Special patrolmen, rendered most effective service in arranging the commissary supplies for the large numbers of Police, military, special Patrolmen, and destitute colored refugees, whose subsistence was thrown unexpectedly on the department. the duty was arduous and responsible, and was performed with vigor and fidelity. All the clerks of the department, each in his sphere, performed a manly share of the heavy duties growing out of these extraordinary circumstances."

Ex-Governor Seymour, who occupied the Gubernatorial chair at the time of the riots, and who also was in the city in his official capacity assisting in restoring order, bears this willing and appreciative testimony to the valuable services rendered by the New York Police force during the terrible days of the draft riots:

"The draft riots of 1863 were put down mainly by the energy, boldness and skill of the Police Department. In saying this I am certainly not influenced by prejudice, for the force was politically, and in some degree personally, unfriendly to myself. Indeed, in their reports they have not seen fit to make mention of any co-operation on my part with their efforts. But they did their duty bravely and efficiently. They proved that the city of New York could, by its Police alone, in the absence of its military organization, cope with the most formidable disorders. I do not know of any instance in history where so many desperate men were shot down mainly by the Police of a city. More than a thousand of the rioters were killed or wounded to death. Yet so little justice had been done the city of New York that many think it was protected by the forces of the Untied States. In fact, the Navy Yard, the vast amounts of military stores of the general Government, and its money in the Sub-Treasury, were mainly protected by the civil officers. So protected while the military organizations of the State were absent in Pennsylvania, in answer to an appeal from the Government of the United States to help it against an invasion of General Lee. Even General Grant, in one of his papers, spoke of the riots in New York as an occasion when the general Government had helped State or local authorities to maintain peace and order. I wrote to him correcting this error, and it gives me pleasure to say that he received my communication in a spirit of courtesy and fairness which ever marks the character of an honorable man. It is now time that justice should be done the city of New York in his matter, and in the hope that such justice may be done, I repeat these facts."

General Harvey Brown, in relinquishing his command said:

Having, during the riots, been in immediate and constant co-operation with the Police Department of this city, he desires the privilege of expressing his unbounded admiration of it. Never in our civil or military life has he ever seen such untiring devotion and such efficient service. To President Acton and commissioner Bergen he offers his thanks for their courtesy to him, and their kindness to his command. "The only merit I can claim," concludes General Brown, "in the performance of the duty which has given me the high distinction of your approbation, is that of an honest singleness of purpose in recording the very able and energetic efforts of the President of the Metropolitan Police, Mr. Acton, to whom, in my opinion, more then to any other one man, is due the credit of the early suppression of the riot."

Governor Seymour, in his annual message, in referring to the riots, says, among other things, that a dispatch was sent to him from Mayor Opdyke, informing him of the outbreak that had taken place on the thirteenth day of July, the first day of the riots. The Governor reached the city the following morning, and found it agitated with wild excitement and riotous violence. The militia were ordered to return immediately from Pennsylvania, and a proclamation was issued "To the people of the City of New York." "Riotous proceedings," the Governor's proclamation read, must and shall be put down, the laws of the State must be enforced, its peace and order maintained, and the lives and property of all its citizens protected at any and every hazard. * * * * Let all citizens stand firmly by the constituted authorities, sustaining law and order in the city, and ready to answer any such demands as circumstances may render necessary for me to make upon their services, and they may rely upon a rigid enforcement of the laws of this State against all who violate them."

The city was declared in a state of insurrection. It was divided into districts, which were placed under the control of persons of influence or military experience, who were directed to organize the citizens. Three thousand stand of arms were issued to these and other organizations. The governor likewise obtained from the collector of the port the service of an armed vessel to traverse the rivers and bays in the vicinity of New York, and authorized the Police commissioners to charter another steamer, which could be used to carry Policemen and soldiers to any point on the shores of the islands where disturbances were threatened. "In the sad and humiliating history of this event," to quote from Governor Seymour's annual message, "it is gratifying that the citizens of New York, without important aid from the State or Nation, were able of themselves to put down this dangerous insurrection. I do not underrate the value of the services rendered by the military or naval officer of the general Government who were stationed in that city, or those of General Sandford; for the public are under great obligation to them for their courage and prudent counsels. But they had at their command only a handful of troops, who, alone, were entirely unequal to the duty of defending the vast amount of public property which was endangered. The rioters were subdued by the exertion of the city officials, civic and military, the people, the Police, the firemen and a small body of twelve hundred men, composed equally of the State and National forces."

In his report to Governor Seymour, General Wool said:

"The city Police force from the beginning, under the able chief commissioner, superintendent, and other officers of its organization, displayed throughout the whole riot not only a willingness, but very great efficiency, in heir noble exertions to quell the riot. For this and their harmonious co-operation with the troops engaged in the same cause, they deserve the warmest thanks of every lover of law and order, and my high commendations from their whole conduct on this trying occasion."

The loss in the city, in property, was not much short of three millions dollars. Probably fifteen hundred rioters were killed or died in consequence of injuries received.

At the Court of General Sessions, twenty of the rioters were indicted, of whom nineteen were convicted. The aggregate term of their imprisonment was about one hundred years. From records and reliable sources, it appears that three Policemen lost their lives. A large but unknown number of citizens and officers were wounded; twelve Negroes were hanged, and many others disappeared.

A week of terror and dismay, a week of horrors unparalleled in the history of New York, was drawing to a close. A great city was for at time in the grasp of robbers and cut-throats, and the very existence of the Republic imperiled. But the battle had been valiantly waged and won. The Police had saved our city; the mob was vanquished and dispersed. Had the rioters succeeded in overthrowing the Police, and military, and gained possession of the city but for one hour, there is no calculating what irreparable calamities might have, as a consequence, befallen the City and the Nation. It is safe to assume that similar riotous proceeding would take place in other leading cities of the North, and thus the drafting be brought to an end, with the enemy almost within sight of the Seat of Government. But happily all this was averted. Had it not been so, who can say how the war would have terminated?

The following proclamation was issued by Mayor Opdyke:

"The riotous assemblages have been dispersed, business is running in its usual channels. The various lines of omnibuses, railway, and telegraph have resumed their ordinary operations., Few symptoms of disorder remain, except in a small district in the eastern part of the city, comprising a part of the Eighteenth and Twenty-first Wards. The Police is everywhere alert. A sufficient military force is now here to suppress any illegal movement, however formidable.

"Let me exhort you, therefore, to pursue your ordinary business., Avoid especially all crowds. Remain quietly at your homes, except when engaged in business, or assisting the authorities in some organized force. When the military appear in the street, do not gather about it, being sire that it is doing its duty in obedience to orders from superior authority. Your homes and your places of business you have a right to defend, and it is your duty to defend them at all hazards. Yield to no intimidation, and to no demand for money as the price of your safety. If any person warns you to desist from your accustomed business, give no heed to the warning, but arrest him, and bring him to the nearest station house as a conspirator. Be assured that the public authorities have the ability and the will to protect you from those who have conspired alike against your peace, against the government of your choice, and against the laws which you representatives have enacted.

"George Opdyke, Mayor."

Thus ends the record of the draft riots. They leave a great lesson to the people as to the utter futility of mob violence; they carry a lesson to the Police and the civic authorities as to the value of a well-organized, well-disciplined band of public guardians.


The Police Force was apportioned as follows:


Station House



29 Broad Street

Captain, Jacob B. Warlow; four Sergeants, sixty-three Patrolmen, two Doormen


49 Beeckman Street

Captain, Nathaniel R. Mills; four Sergeants, sixty Patrolmen, two Doormen


No. 160 Chambers Street

Captain, James Greer; three Sergeants; sixty-four Patrolmen, two Doormen


9 Oak Street

Captain, James Bryan; four Sergeants; Seventy Patrolmen; two Doorman


49 Leonard Street

Captain, Jeremiah Petty; four Sergeants; sixty-one Patrolmen; two Doormen


9 Franklin Street

Captain, John Joudan; four Sergeants; sixty-three Patrolmen; two Doormen


No. 247 Madison St.

Captain, William Jamieson; four Sergeants; fifty-seven Patrolmen; two Doormen.


No. 126 Wooster St.

Captain, Morris DeCamp; four Sergeants; fifty-two Patrolmen; two Doormen.


No. 94 Charles St.

Captain, Jacob L. Sebring; four Sergeants; fifty-one Patrolmen, two Doormen


Essex Market

Captain, Thaddeus C. Davis; four Sergeants; sixty-two Patrolmen; two Doormen.


Union Market

Captain, John I. Mount; four Sergeants; fifty-six Patrolmen, two Doormen.


One Hundred & Twenty-sixth St. near Third Avenue

Captain, Theron R. Bennett; five Sergeants; forty-one Patrolmen; two Doormen


Attorney St., corner Delancey St.

Captain, Thomas Steers; four Sergeants; fifty-three Patrolmen; two Doormen.


No. 53 Spring Street

Captain, John J. Williamson; four Sergeants; fifty-eight Patrolmen; two Doormen.


No. 220 Mercer Street

Captain, Charles W. Caffrey; four Sergeants; sixty-nine Patrolmen; two Doormen


No. 126 West Twentieth St.

Captain, Henry Hedden; four Sergeants; fifty Patrolmen; two Doormen


First Avenue, corner Fifth St.

Captain, Samuel Brower; four Sergeants; fifty-six Patrolmen; two Doormen


Twenty-second St., near Second Ave.

Captain, John Cameron; four Sergeants; seventy-four Patrolmen; two Doorman


Fifty-ninth St., near Third Ave.

Captain, Galen T. Porter; four Sergeants; forty-nine Patrolmen; two Doormen.


No. 212 West thirty-fifth St.

Captain, George W. Walling; four Sergeants; fifty-nine Patrolmen; two Doormen


120 East Thirty-first Street

Captain, Cornelius Burdick; four Sergeants; fifty-one Patrolmen; two Doormen.


Forty-seventh St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves.

Captain, Johannes C. Slott; four Sergeants; fifty-four Patrolmen; two Doormen.


Eight-sixth St., near fourth Ave.

Captain, Henry Hutchings; four Sergeants; forty-two Patrolmen; two Doormen


Headquarters on board of the Police Steamboat, No. 1

Captain, James Todd; two Sergeants, twenty Patrolmen

Twenty-fifth (Broadway Squad)

Headquarters, 300 Mulberry Street

Captain, Theron T. Copeland; one Sergeant; thirty-eighth Patrolmen, two Doormen


City hall

Captain, Thomas W. Thorne; four Sergeants; sixty-six Patrolmen; two Doormen


No. 117 Cedar Street

Captain, John C. Helme; four Sergeants; fifty-two Patrolmen, three Doormen


No. 550 Greenwich Street

Captain, John F. Dickson; four Sergeants; Forty-eight Patrolmen, two Doormen


Twenty-ninth St., near Fourth Ave.

Captain, Francis C. Speight; four Sergeants; eight-two Patrolmen, three Doormen


One Hundred and Thirty-first St., Manhattanville

Captain, Jedediah Hart; three Sergeants; seventeen Patrolman; two Doormen


Eighty-sixth St. & Bloomingdale Road

Captain, James Z. Bogart; two Sergeants; nineteen Patrolmen, two Doorman.

Thirty-second (Mounted Police)

Tenth Ave. & One Hundred and Fifty-second St.

Captain, Alanson S. Wilson; four Sergeants; thirty-five Patrolmen, two Doormen



Our Police Protectors, History of the New York Police, Published for the benefit of the Police Pension Fund, by Augustine Costello, Published by Author, 1885.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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