War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0909 Chapter XXXIX. DRAFT RIOTS IN NEW YORK CITY, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

These organizations were also in part filled by volunteers from the citizens, and were of the greatest value at this critical period. A call was also made for volunteers from the exempt members of regiments and from citizens, and a regiment was provisionally organized, composed of these, under the command of Colonel A. M. Wood, which subsequently received the approbation of His Excellency.

I had immediately, upon the receipt of the requisition of the sheriff, taken measures to provide the forces under my command with ammunition; and the artillery, upon which it was obvious that our principal reliance must be placed, was gotten in readiness for instant service.

On the 15th day of July, the police commissioners passed a resolution, directing me to call out and muster the forces under my command, to aid the civil authorities in putting down and suppressing all riots, &c., and to preserve the public tranquillity in the city of Brooklyn. Our entire available force had already been put on duty. The Seventieth Regiment was posted at the arsenal, and the Sixteenth and the forces under Captain Thorn held the city armory. Lieutenant Brown, of the Forty-seventh Regiment, with members of that regiment, aided by citizens, kept guard at the armory of the Forty-seventh Regiment (eastern district of Brooklyn); and the arms from all the other armories were removed to the arsenal and other safe places.

The riot in New York City, which commenced on the 13th July, had in the meantime continued, and that city was the scene of conflict between the public authorities and the rioters; and the spirit of riot seemed to extend over all the adjacent region, filling the citizens of Brooklyn and the neighboring villages with great alarm, and causing constant demands upon the public authorities for special protection, which could not be given with the limited force under the control of the authorities.

By the advice, as was understood, of His Excellency, and also of the local authorities, the citizens began to form associations for local protection and mutual defense; and some of these associations of citizens were provided with arms by orders of His Excellency. Other citizens were made special deputies by the sheriff, and the police commissioners appointed many special policemen, and regular patrols were established by night in many parts of the city of Brooklyn and the adjacent towns. As yet there had been no open manifestations of violence in Brooklyn, although these were momentarily expected, and the regular and special civil force and the military were held in constant readiness for an outbreak. Large bodies of men, it was reported, had assembled in Hamilton avenue, near the Atlantic dock, and rumors of intended attacks upon public and private property, which were flying about the city, caused many of the citizens to leave for places of presumed greater safety, and the general excitement was constantly increasing.

On the night of the 15th of July, a mob assembled in the vicinity of the Atlantic dock, and, forcing an entrance, set on fire two grain elevators, which were consumed. The mayor and police proceeded to the Atlantic dock, and the mob dispersed without much, if any, resistance; but the persons who had fired the elevators had escaped and were unknown. The military force under Captain Thorn was under arms, ready to aid the civil authorities, but their services were not required.

It was anticipated that the incendiarism at the Atlantic dock