Bowery Boys and Dead Rabbits

A drawing of the Dead Rabbit barricade on Bayard Street during the fight between the Dead Rabbits and the Bowery Boys.
A drawing of the Dead Rabbit barricade on Bayard Street during the fight between the Dead Rabbits and the Bowery Boys.

On the night of July 4th, 1857 tensions between the Bowery Boys and Dead Rabbits culminated in a bang, starting a two day long riot that would captive the city. The New York Times described the scene:  “a crowd of young vagabonds from Cow Bay and the neighborhood proceeded to the Bowery, at Nos. 40 and 42, and made an onslaught upon the Atlantic Guards or Bowery Crowd.” Caught by surprise, the Bowery Boys quickly fought back with “fire arms, clubs, brick-bats, and stones. The ’Bowery Crowd’ were finally forced to retreat, and the ‘Five Pointers’,  alias ‘Dead Rabbits’, alias ‘Roach Guard’, then retired back to their houses on Elizabeth, Mulberry, and the Points, yelling and assailing all whom they met, firing their revolvers in the air and defying any to interfere.” 1)“RIOTING AND BLOODSHED; THE FIGHT AT COW BAY. Metropolitans Driven from the 6th Ward. Chimneys Hurled Down Upon the Populace. “Dead Rabbits” Against the “Bowery Boys.” ORDER RESTORED AT MIDNIGHT. Riots in the 6th,7th and 13th Wards. THE STREETS BARRICADED. THREE REGIMENTS CALLED OUT. THE 4TH AND 5TH OF JULY. Six Men Killed and Over One Hundred Wounded. THE CITY UNDER ARMS” New York Times, July 6, 1857,           http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C07E1DE163CEE34BC4E53DFB166838C649FDE.

The riots continued for two days, eventually resulting in eight deaths and a hundred injuries. The evolution of the fight into a full blown riot was due to the New York City Police still being in a state of disarray from the conflict between the Municipal and Metropolitan police, who had their own riot earlier that year on June 16.

The Five Pointers also showed their displeasure at the police during the riots. It was said outside the old Sixth ward station house, 133 Walker Street, “a desperate fight was raging between a number of men in Leonard, near Baxter-street, and directly in front of the old Station-house”2)The Great Metropolis or Guide to New York, Vol. 5, New York, 1849 and when the police arrived “the belligerents ceased their ‘private fight’ and, joining together, made an assault upon the police.” 3)“RIOTING AND BLOODSHED; THE FIGHT AT COW BAY. Metropolitans Driven from the 6th Ward. Chimneys Hurled Down Upon the Populace. “Dead Rabbits” Against the “Bowery Boys.”((ORDER RESTORED AT MIDNIGHT. Riots in the 6th, 7th and 13th Wards. THE STREETS BARRICADED. THREE REGIMENTS CALLED OUT. THE 4TH AND 5TH OF JULY. Six Men Killed and Over One        Hundred Wounded. THE CITY UNDER ARMS” New York Times, July 6, 1857, http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-       free/pdf?res=9C07E1DE163CEE34BC4E53DFB166838C649FDE.

 

 

 

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. “RIOTING AND BLOODSHED; THE FIGHT AT COW BAY. Metropolitans Driven from the 6th Ward. Chimneys Hurled Down Upon the Populace. “Dead Rabbits” Against the “Bowery Boys.” ORDER RESTORED AT MIDNIGHT. Riots in the 6th,7th and 13th Wards. THE STREETS BARRICADED. THREE REGIMENTS CALLED OUT. THE 4TH AND 5TH OF JULY. Six Men Killed and Over One Hundred Wounded. THE CITY UNDER ARMS” New York Times, July 6, 1857,           http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C07E1DE163CEE34BC4E53DFB166838C649FDE.
2. The Great Metropolis or Guide to New York, Vol. 5, New York, 1849
3. “RIOTING AND BLOODSHED; THE FIGHT AT COW BAY. Metropolitans Driven from the 6th Ward. Chimneys Hurled Down Upon the Populace. “Dead Rabbits” Against the “Bowery Boys.”((ORDER RESTORED AT MIDNIGHT. Riots in the 6th, 7th and 13th Wards. THE STREETS BARRICADED. THREE REGIMENTS CALLED OUT. THE 4TH AND 5TH OF JULY. Six Men Killed and Over One        Hundred Wounded. THE CITY UNDER ARMS” New York Times, July 6, 1857, http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-       free/pdf?res=9C07E1DE163CEE34BC4E53DFB166838C649FDE.

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