The Great Riots of New York 1712 to 1873
by J T Headley
Excerpt: ...station was in each precinct-thus making thirty-two, all coming to a focus at head-quarters. These are also divided into five sections ... Show synopsis Excerpt: ...station was in each precinct-thus making thirty-two, all coming to a focus at head-quarters. These are also divided into five sections-north, south, east, west, and central. The Commissioners, therefore, sitting in the central office, can send messages almost instantaneously to every precinct of the city, and receive immediate answers. Hence, Mr. Acton was a huge Briareus, reaching out his arms to Fort Washington in the north, and Brooklyn in the south, and at the same time touching the banks of both rivers. No other system could be devised giving such tremendous power to the police-the power of instant information and rapid concentration at any desired point. That it proved itself the strong right arm of the Commissioners, it needs only to state, that during the four days of the riot, between five and six thousand messages passed over the wires, showing that they were worked to their utmost capacity, day and night. The more intelligent of the mob understood this, and hence at the outset attempted to break up this communication, by cutting down the poles on Third Avenue. This stopped all messages to and from the precincts at Fort Washington, Manhattanville, Harlem, Yorkville, and Bloomingdale, as well as with the Nineteenth Precinct. But fortunately, the orders to these had passed over the wires before the work was completed. Subsequently, the rioters cut down the poles in First Avenue, in Twenty-second Street, and Ninth Avenue, destroying communication between several other precincts. Mr. Crowley, the Superintendent of the Telegraph Bureau, was made acquainted early, Monday, by mere accident with this plan of the rioters. Coming to town in the Third Avenue cars from Yorkville, where he resided, he suddenly found the car arrested by a mob, and getting out with the other passengers, discovered men chopping furiously away at the telegraph poles; and without stopping to think, rushed up to them and ordered them to desist. One of the ruffians, ..