The pummeling drives Tweed closer to Jim Fisk, a rare New Yorker agnostic on the Irish question. Fisk has his own Orange Day story. “On Tuesday night, about twelve o’clock,” the colonel of the Ninth Regiment explains, “I called on Governor Hoffman and Mayor Hall at Police Headquarters and had an interview with those officials in reference to my regiment in the coming trouble. During our powwow I informed the Governor that in case of a riot I expected that the Twenty-third Street Ferry and the Grand Opera House would be assailed by the mob. His Excellency concluded to let the Ninth Regiment protect both places. There being a rumor that a body of Orangemen intended crossing the Twenty-third Street Ferry”—from New Jersey—“to take part in the New York procession, it was decided that should such an attempt be made, the ferry boats should be withdrawn, and they should not be permitted to cross. Governor Hoffman thought he should have enough to do to protect his own people, and was not willing to become responsible for the safety of those belonging to any other city or state.”

Fisk was ready the next day. “About midday a messenger arrived from the Grand Opera House with the information that a large number of men were crossing the Twenty-third Street Ferry. I immediately went to the Opera House and sent for Jay Gould. I wanted to know of him if the charter”—of the Erie Railroad—“would be violated by stopping the ferry boats. Not being able to find Gould, I took the responsibility upon my own shoulders and telegraphed to Mr. McIntosh, the agent at Jersey City, to stop running the boats. My order was at once obeyed.”

Meanwhile the Ninth had been mustering at its armory to join the procession in order to protect the Orange marchers. A messenger brought word that the men were all in place. “I started out and began to walk back,” Fisk explains. “As I approached Twenty-fourth Street, the crowd on the sidewalk hooted me and yelled at me.” The Irish crowd knew Fisk as the commander of the Ninth and didn’t like his protecting their historic foes. “I immediately took the middle of the street, and walked on in that way till I came in sight of the Sixth Regiment just ahead. In the meantime the crowd was gathering behind me, when all of a sudden I heard a shot and felt a bullet whiz past me. I went in the ranks of the Sixth, the crowd continuing their hooting until I got to my own regiment.”

He had left his uniform coat and sword at the armory, but with the parade beginning he had to make do in shirtsleeves and with a borrowed weapon. “I took the major’s sword and assumed command. The procession began to march, and soon after we started a lot of bricks and stones were thrown at us, and in some instances shots were discharged. My men had received instructions before leaving the armory not to fire off their pieces until they should be assaulted by the mob, and not to fire if only stones should be thrown. But should it become so hot that they could not stand it, and should any shots be fired, they were not to wait for any orders, but were to fire into the mob and protect themselves.

“No attention was paid to the missiles until Walter Pryor was struck by a bullet in the knee, and Harry Page was killed. I was standing within a few feet of him. At that moment discharges of musketry were heard from the head of the line, and my men, becoming excited at the death of one of our best members, opened fire upon the mob. My regiment was a little distance behind the Sixth. The crowd on the east side of Eighth Avenue, into which the troops were firing, now came rushing between the two regiments. I was standing in front of my regiment with Major Hitchcock’s sword in my hand. The mob closed in upon me in an instant, knocked me down, and trampled upon me.

“After the crowd passed me I tried to rise, and found I was hurt about the foot. I cannot say whether I was struck by anything, or received my injuries by being trampled upon. Some of my men, seeing my condition, carried me into a bakery close by. I was taken to the second story and the surgeons examined my foot and found that my ankle was out of joint. They took hold of it and jerked it back into place. The surgeons then left me, and as I was looking out of the window with Captain Spencer I saw the crowd close around the two men of my regiment who had been left in charge of Page’s body. I saw a man make a thrust at one of them with a sword-cane.

“The next thing I remember was hearing an Irishman, who stood in front of the bakery, cry out, ‘That damned Colonel Fisk is in here. Let’s go in and kill the villain.’ Others said, ‘Hang him.’ Crowds began to gather thick and fast about the door, and fearing that the house was about to be sacked, I seized a heavy cane which had been given me, and left by the back way. I must have jumped over five fences, when I reached a house through which I went, and attempted to pass out by the front door. Looking down the street toward Eighth Avenue, I saw the mob still there. Coming down Ninth Avenue was another crowd, a hard looking set. For a moment I thought there was no possible chance of escape, but on glancing across the street I saw a door open and ran toward it. This house is in Twenty-seventh Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. I went through the hallway to the yard. Here I met a high fence. I found a barrel, mounted it, and climbed over. I climbed several more fences before I became exhausted at last, and started for a house fronting on Twenty-ninth Street. Some woman slammed the door in my face. Seeing a basement window open, I crawled into it, and was confronted by an Irishman, who wanted to know what it all meant. I explained my case to him, and borrowed a pair of old trousers, an old hat and a large coat. When I left the house, the crowds had disappeared from Twenty-ninth Street, having followed the procession down.

“My first thought was now for a carriage. Seeing none in sight I limped toward Ninth Avenue, and looking down the street I espied one coming up. I hailed the driver, and looking inside saw Jay Gould. The driver stopped, but Gould, not knowing me in my disguise, ordered him to go on again. I explained who I was, and was taken in. The driver took us to the Hoffman House; but I had not been there more than fifteen minutes before a mob collected around the neighborhood. Seeing that danger still followed me, I ordered another coach, and was taken to the Pavonia Ferry, where a number of our tugs are generally stationed. I got on board of one of them and was taken to Sandy Hook. From there I went to Long Beach in the cars. I did not take off my disguise until I reached the Continental Hotel.”

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