Does anyone have additional information on this incident-
"At a quarter past ten o'clock this morning a detachment of United States volunteers, or Home Guards, a part of McNeil's regiment, under command, as is alleged, of one Bissell or Bissick, proceeded from their quarters at Turner's Hall, down Seventh.
When immediately opposite the Recorder's Court room, in the building occupied by the Hook and Ladder Company, on Seventh street, between Pine and Olive streets, several bystanders, who had left the Recorder's Court rather hastily, to see the soldiers, rushed out on the sidewalk. Just at the juncture a soldier's gun, in the extreme rear of the ranks, apparently while the holder was adjusting a cap, exploded accidentally. Immediately upon this, and it is said without any order being given, the troops commenced a murderous and promiscuous fire upon the crowd of unprotected citizens who stood before them.
The number of those killed, or their names, cannot be correctly ascertained today. The slaughtered fell in every direction. The wail of the dying rang in the ears of a startled people for blocks around. Shriek after shriek went up to heaven: the rush for places of safety stifled dozens, and still the soldiers fired. The scene cannot be described, nay hardly imagined. Upon the balcony in front of the Recorder's Court room Henry Fraugel fell. Close by his side, officer N.M. Pratt, who has for several years been connected with the police force, fell, pierced through the heart.
The Recorder, sitting quietly at his desk, entirely unconscious of the possibility of trouble in the street, was suddenly surrounded by a storm of bullets. The window immediately behind him was completely riddled by bullets. His desk was shattered and rent by the flying lead, still providentially his life was spared. A prisoner, up for some petty offense, fell dead at the dock. The other prisoners, taking advantage of the confusion, fled from the building and escaped.
When there was no longer anybody to shoot the rattle of the musketry ceased, and there lay the dead, the dying and the wounded to be gazed at by the thousands of horror stricken citizens that soon congregated around the spot where the massacre occured. In a few minutes a body of police arrived on the ground, and in a short time afterward a company of regulars, under command of Capt. Sweeny.
The street for some distance around the engine house was cleared, and the bodies of the killed and wounded removed. As near as we could ascertain seven were killed instantly, and a large number of others badly wounded, several of whom we are informed by physicians in attendance will probably die during the day. We saw two bodies, stiff in death, which were literally torn to pieces by Minie balls. An Italian, named Bougero, the proprietor of a saloon on the corner of Seventh and St. Charles streets, received two balls in the head, one of which tore off his lower jaw. We are unable to state positively any more of the names of the killed and wounded.
Many were taken to their homes by friends, and their names will probably not transpire for several days, or at least not until an inquest is held by the Coroner. When we left the scene of the massacre, the firemen were engaged with their hose in washing away the pools of blood that made the sidewalk look like the floor of a slaughter-house. As we have heretofore intimated, the wildest excitement prevailed. The people of the immediate neighborhood of the butchery are nearly speechless with terror. Many of them are preparing to leave the city as it is evident from every circumstance that the lives of none are safe in the city.
Several of the wounded are now lying at the City Hospital, and five of the dead bodies can be seen at the Health Office. We shall be prepared to give more of the details concerning this last terrible massacre of our citizens tomorrow. In the meantime, we trust those who witnessed the affair will hand their names in to the Coroner. We have to add that in this instance not one man can be found who has attempted or will attempt to palliate or excuse in the slightest degree, the butchery of our citizens this morning."
St Louis Journal, 17 June 1861 (as reprinted in New Orleans Bee, 22 June 1861)