Report of Maj. Gen. Charles W. Sandford,
commanding First Divisions, New York State National Guard, of operations June 16-July 16,
including the Draft Riots in New York City.
JUNE 3-AUGUST 1, 1863.--The Gettysburg Campaign.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44]
HDQRS. 1ST DIV., NEW YORK STATE NATIONAL GUARDS,
New York, December 30, 1863.
Brig. Gen. JOHN T. SPRAGUE,
Adjutant-General, State of New York.
GENERAL: During the present year, 1863, the First Division has performed a large amount of duty. In addition to the usual parades and drills, the reception of regiments returned from the war, and funeral honors to our noble sons who have fallen upon the battlefields of our country, in defense of the Union, the division has been again called to the field, and upon its return has been engaged in the suppression of riots at home.
On the 16th of June last, I received orders of that date from the Commander-in-Chief (a copy whereof is annexed), directing me to send as many regiments as possible to Harrisburg, to assist in repelling the invasion of Pennsylvania by the rebels.
The destination of some of these regiments was changed, by request of the War Department, to Baltimore.
The following regiments of this division were sent forward by me, pursuant to these orders, viz:
June 17.--Seventh Regiment, 800 men, for Baltimore.
June 18.--Eighth Regiment, 350 men, for Harrisburg; Eleventh Regiment, 850 men, for Harrisburg; Seventy-first Regiment, 650 men, for Harrisburg.
June 19.--Fifth Regiment, 900 men, for Harrisburg; Twelfth Regiment, 700 men, for Harrisburg; Twenty-second Regiment, 600 men, for Harrisburg; Thirty-seventh Regiment, 600 men, for Harrisburg.
June 20.--Fourth Regiment, 500 men, for Harrisburg.
June 22.--Sixth Regiment, 650 men, for Baltimore; Sixty-ninth Regiment, 700 men, for Baltimore.
June 24.--Fifty-fifth Regiment, 350 men, for Baltimore.
July 3.--Eighty-fourth Regiment, 400 men, for Baltimore.
These regiments were divided into three brigades, and placed under the command of Brigadier-Generals Hall, Ewen, and Yates, whose reports of their operations during their absence I have the honor to inclose, and to which I respectfully refer.
I have also the honor to inclose reports from the commandants of several of these regiments, which exhibit the details of their employment and services during their absence.
The readiness and alacrity with which these regiments departed to assist our sister State in the hour of danger, is evidenced by the fact that most of our New York regiments arrived at Harrisburg before a single regiment reached there from Philadelphia, and were immediately sent forward to cover all the approaches to that city, and they effectually prevented the farther advance of the rebel army.
During the absence of all these regiments of my division, on the 13th of July last, a riot of the most serious character occurred (in consequence of the commencement of the United States draft), which for three or four days was more disgraceful in its character and more serious in its consequence than any before known in our city, and which could not have lasted twelve hours if one-third of our regiments had been at home at its commencement.
Upon the first alarm, upon the requisition of his honor the mayor, the whole of the division remaining in the city was ordered on duty, but the absence of over 8,000 men at the seat of war had left me with so small a force, that my means were entirely inadequate to the magnitude of the occasion.
In this emergency, Major-General Wool, commanding the Department of the East, in a most liberal spirit, immediately proffered the aid of the United States detachments in the harbor, and directed them to report to me for duty. The following is a copy of his orders:
SPECIAL ORDERS. ] HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE EAST,
New York, July 13, 1863.
All the troops called out for the protection of the city are placed under the command of Major-General Sandford, whose orders they will implicitly obey.
By command of Major-General Wool:
C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
With the remnant of the division, and the first of these re-enforcements from General Wool, detachments were sent to all parts of the city, and the rioters were everywhere beaten and dispersed.
The north and west sides of the city were effectually cleared of rioters by detachments sent by me from the arsenal. In Broadway, Forty-second, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second streets, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth avenues, mobs were attacked, and in every instance defeated or dispersed. No blank cartridges were issued to or used by any of the troops under my orders. The gas-works, in Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets, and also upon the East River, Webb's shipyards, and the various manufactories threatened by the rioters, were fully protected, and numerous fires in buildings occupied by colored people and others obnoxious to the mob, were extinguished by the firemen after the rioters were dispersed.
In these encounters, I regret to report that Major [Henry S.] Fearing, of my staff, was very seriously wounded while gallantly leading a charge upon the mob in Forty-second street, and 1 private soldier was killed, and 22 officers and men dangerously, and 53 slightly, wounded, at the storming of the barricades erected by the rioters in Twenty-ninth street, and in other conflicts which followed.
The whole of the force remaining with me at the arsenal was kept on duty day and night during the whole period, and twenty-six detachments, at different times, were sent out to disperse the rioters and protect private and public property.
This division has always been so organized as to be ready upon any emergency to effectually suppress all riots or insurrections, and the citizens of New York know that they can safely repose under its protection. The absence of the thirteen regiments above mentioned, and of six regiments of the division which volunteered for the war, alone gave temporary success to the rioters.
As soon as our regiments could be recalled, they returned to the city, and the rioters were then entirely dispersed; but most of the regiments were kept on duty during the residue of the month of July, and some of them until the middle of August.
On the 17th of August last, I received requisitions from the mayor of the city and the police commissioners, in apprehension of a riot on the renewal of the draft, which was appointed to take place in this city on the 19th of August last, requesting me to call out the First Division to aid the civil authorities in preserving the peace and suppressing any tumult, riot, or insurrection during the draft.
In pursuance of these requisitions, the whole division was called out, and stationed by regiments and detachments in various parts of the city, from the High Bridge to the Battery, and was kept on duty until the 5th of September, and a small detachment from each regiment until the 15th of September.
In consequence of this precaution, the draft proceeded without any interruption or breach of the peace.
A division parade took place on the 1st day of October last, by request of the common council of the city, for the purpose of uniting in the reception of Rear-Admiral Lesoffsky and his officers of the Russian fleet, upon their first visit to the harbor of New York.
In consequence of the large amount of duty performed by the division during the year, the usual division parade upon the 25th of November was omitted.
The ordinary inspection parades of the several regiments and brigades took place as usual, of which returns have been heretofore transmitted to your office.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. W. SANDFORD,
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