guard” was in its way a “crack” organization.
My orders authorized me to take from all the volunteer troops, convalescents and furlough men in the harbor, whatever private soldiers I might select, not to exceed one hundred and eighty in number, and by dint of careful selection and occasional changes-substituting good material for poor — the company became eventually a type of the cream of the volunteer army.
No two men in it belonged necessarily to the same regiment; all had seen hard service in the field, and all were willing to pass a portion of their terms of enlistment in protecting Fort Hamilton
The severest punishment I could inflict was to ship an undesirable soldier to his regiment.
The name I adopted in mild imitation of the celebrated “Permanent party” of Governor's Island
Their association with the regulars excited in them a wholesome spirit of emulation.
I succeeded in having them equipped in every respect the same as the Twelfth Infantry; had their clothing made over by a company tailor to fit them; fed them well with the accumulations of the company fund; held them down to strict discipline, and in a short time I found myself in charge of as orderly, self-possessed, and “natty” a company as any officer need desire to command.
The gallant service they performed in the July riots, and the eagerness displayed by the regular infantry officers in New York during that period to lead them, showed the sterling metal of which they were composed, and justify me in claiming for the “Permanent guard of Fort Hamilton
” the place it is entitled to in the history of that deadly outbreak.
On July 4th telegraphic orders were received from Washington
to dispatch the two batteries from Fort Hamilton
to the Army of the Potomac at Chambersburg
, and the “Permanent guard” thus became the only effective garrison of the post.
The aggregate strength of General Brown
's command at that time was less than 500.
About two o'clock on the afternoon of Monday, July 13th, having occasion to visit the telegraph office just outside the military inclosure of Fort Hamilton
, I was informed by the operator that communication with the city had been in some way cut off. No word of any disturbance had reached us at the Narrows.
Shortly afterward a mounted orderly from General Wool
's headquarters made his appearance, bearing an order to send immediately to New York a portion of the troops from Fort Lafayette, and half the company then garrisoning Fort Richmond.
While I was proceeding to carry this order into execution General Brown
arrived from the city and expressed great surprise at the small number of men-about eighty-specified in General Wool
As the tug was then in