[On July] 14th, at 7 p.m., . . . I was ordered by General Hall to proceed to the city of New York. By great activity and exertion, a train of cars was gotten together and provided for the next morning. At 4 a.m. July 15, I put my men on board the cars, leaving our camp and garrison equipage at Fort Washington, and arrived at the city of New York at about 5 p.m. Before leaving Fort Washington, a battery of four howitzers, belonging to the Eighth New York National Guard, was attached to my command. On arriving in New York, I immediately marched my command to headquarters, reporting in person to General [John] Wool. On the way from the dock, a large mob gathered about, and attempted to get possession of two negroes who were serving as cooks with the artillery company of the Eighth New York National Guard. I protected them from harm by placing them amidst the battery, and protecting the same by a company thrown on either flank. . . .

On the morning of the 16th of July, pursuant to orders which I had received from General [Harvey] Brown, at 7 o’clock I set out with my companies . . . and the howitzers. Passed through the Hotchkiss shell factory, on Twentyfourth street, and left Company B . . . and one of my howitzers at that point. I then passed on with the remaining companies of my command and two of my howitzers for my next point of destination, Seward’s shell factory, on Seventeenth street. While my men were passing down Seventeenth street, the mob gathered about in a threatening manner, but no violence was committed. At Seward’s shell factory, I stationed Company F . . . with one of the howitzers. I then passed on up Avenue A, with Company G . . . and a howitzer, toward Jackson’s shell factory, on Twenty-eighth street, where I was to make my headquarters. On arriving at the corner of Avenue A and Twenty-second street, I was fired into by the mob. I wheeled my men into line to return the fire, and the mob skedaddled. I then passed on a block farther, to the corner of Twenty-third street, when the mob gathered in upon my company from both directions on Twenty-third street, and commenced at once to fire upon us. I returned the fire, and kept up the street, firing, until I arrived at Twenty-eighth street. Finding my small company of only 28 men, besides the men serving the howitzer, too small to disperse so large a mob as had collected, I dispatched Quartermaster Flack to headquarters, on Mulberry street, for re-enforcements. The mob seemed to be very generally armed. I then fought my way through the mob to the factory. One of my men was wounded, and several of the crowd were killed and wounded by our fire. On arriving at the factory, we found the door closed. I forced the door, and took possession.

The mob gathered heavily around the factory and fired upon us. We returned their fire, and afterward sallied out upon them and drove them up Twenty-eighth street, as far as the corner of First avenue, and dispersed them.

At 2 p.m. Quartermaster Flack arrived with Companies A and D. At about 5 p.m. a priest came to me as a commissioner from the riotous populace, and urged me to quit the factory and return, stating the people agreed that if I did so the factory should not be injured. He stated further that the crowd threatened that if we did not leave they would burn us out. He implored me to accept the proposal, saying that he feared the worst consequences; that the mob was about 4,000 strong – altogether too large for my weak force to resist – and that he could not control or restrain them. I reported the offer made to me by the priest to General Brown. His answer was, to hold the place at all events, and to disperse the assemblage about me at the point of the bayonet, if necessary. Previous to the receipt of this response from General Brown, however, having refused the offered compromise, and the priest having retired beyond the reach of harm, and the crowd gathering heavily all around the building we occupied, I found it necessary to open fire upon them, which was kept up until our assailants were driven back behind the corners of the neighboring streets.

To return to the HIS 103 Documents page, please click here.

To return to the main webpage, please click here.