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John M. Pellicano

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Conquer or Die: The 39th New York Volunteer Infantry, Garibaldi Guard: A Military History
John M. Pellicano  More Info
Well Prepared to Die: The Life of Brigadier General James Clay Rice
John M. Pellicano  More Info

About the New York Police Department (NYPD):
The City Hospital, between Duane and Anthony streets, upon the west side of Broadway, was commenced in the year 1771, and completed before the war of Independence, when it was converted into a barrack for the reception of troops. It was not until January 3, 1791, that it was opened for the admission of patients. This hospital was the scene of "the Doctor's riot." The public mind had been excited over rumors that the cemeteries had been rifled of dead bodies by the students for anatomical subjects. On Sunday morning, April 13, 1788, a mischievous boy had climbed onto a ladder to one of the hospital windows, and his curiosity to know what was going on inside was gratified by having an arm flourished in his face. The arm aforesaid was wielded by a student, but the member was not his own--it was part of a subject on the dissecting table. The boy, aghast with horror, ran home and spread the news that the students were cutting up dead bodies. The hospital was soon surrounded by an infuriated mob, who burst I the doors. The doctors took refuge in the jail, where they were with difficulty protected. The mob, bent on wrecking vengeance on all the doctors in the city, started for the house of Dr. Cochrane, which they ransacked from cellar to garret in search of the doctor and anatomical subjects. The house of Sir John Temple narrowly escaped destruction. Noticing the name the mob mistook, "Sir John" for surgeon, and that tiled personage came near being reduced to the mutilated condition of one of the surgeons' dissecting subjects. While endeavoring to disperse the mob, Secretary Jay and Baron Steuben were severely wounded. Mayor Duane and Governor Clinton then gave the order to the military to fire, and five persons were killed and seven or eight badly wounded. The crowd then fled.


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John M. Pellicano retired from the New York City Police Department in 1993.  He is the author of  Conquer or Die: The 39th New York Volunteer Infantry, Garibaldi Guard a Military History and Well Prepared to Die: The Life of Brigadier General James Clay Rice.

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