Dead Rabbits and Bowery Boys riot


A two-day civil disturbance in New York City evolving from what was originally a small-scale street fight between members of the Dead Rabbits and the Bowery Boys into a citywide gang war, which occurred July 4–5, 1857. Taking advantage of the disorganized state of the city's police force—brought about by the conflict between the Municipal and Metropolitan police—the fighting spiraled into widespread looting and damage of property by gangsters and other criminals from all parts of the city. It is estimated that between 800 and 1,000 gang members took part in the riots, along with several hundred others who used the disturbance to loot the Bowery area. It was the largest disturbance since the Astor Place Riot in 1849 and the biggest scene of gang violence until the New York Draft Riots of 1863. Order was restored by the New York State Militia, supported by detachments of city police, under Major-General Charles W. Sandford.

Started, July 4, 1857
Ended, July 5, 1857