IMA Source Catalog

Gathering all the sources for historical Irish martial culture in one place.


From HARPER’S WEEKLY, July 11, 1857.



The disbandment of the Municipal Police (whom the Albany Commissioners refused to re-employ) has been the signal for deplorable riots.  From Friday evening to Monday  


morning the city – particularly that portion of it embraced within the Sixth Ward – has been in a state of riot.  An organized gang of ruffians, residing in and about Mulberry Street, and known as the “Roach Guards,” consisting chiefly of Irishmen, began an affray which ended in the loss of six lives and the wounding of over one hundred men.  They began by making an onslaught, with knives and pistols, upon the Metropolitan Policemen who were on duty near the Bowery Theatre.  The same gang, being reinforced, assailed the drinking saloon No. 40 Bowery, the fixtures of which they demolished after assaulting the inmates, whom they suspected of being members of another antagonistic Club known as the “Atlantic Guards.”  By great exertions on the part of the police, and private citizens who aided the police, this difficulty was temporarily quelled, but not until nearly a dozen persons had been more or less injured by bludgeons and pistol-balls.  The riot broke out afresh later in the day, and with such violence that the police, in attempting to suppress it were badly beaten, being assailed from the house-tops and windows all along  Bayard and Mulberry Streets, where the rival “Guards” were met, fighting from behind barricades.  Firearms were brought into requisition by the rioters, six of whom were killed and seventy or eighty wounded.   Of the police, a special officer, named Jenkins, is lying at the City Hospital, mortally wounded, it is feared.  Some others, it is thought, will die of their injuries.  The fight was ended about nightfall – about the time that three regiments were called out to maintain order.  Comparative quiet reigned the remainder of the night.  A large number of the rioters were captured by the police.

On Sunday there was not much fighting until near seven o’clock, when a riot broke out in Centre and Anthony streets, in which sticks, stones, bricks from the  chimneys of the houses, and guns and pistols were freely used, and with effect.  Nine men were seriously wounded, and taken to the City Hospital.  Finally, the military were marched up and down through the Ward, and the rioters dispersed.  There were lesser riots in other parts of the city.  In Bayard Street barricade were again erected, but after the military appeared they were removed without violence.  At midnight all was quiet, and only one regiment was to remain under arms until morning.
Since then there has been no fresh outbreak.  The disturbance is ascribed partly to the turbulence of the Irish, and partly to the inefficiency of the police.

January 24, 2009 - Posted by | as crime, Faction fight descriptions, Old Newspaper clippings

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