The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
Command: 19 Squad (Today's 17 Squad)
Date of Death: 03/14/1872
Cause of Death: Assault
The following material on Philip Lambrecht was provided by Rita Breen, a PhD in History from Massachusetts. Ms. Breen is the great grand-daughter of Anthony Lambrecht, Philip’s cousin. Ms. Breen discovered Det. Lambrecht’s existence while researching her great grandfather. She pieced together the following from census records, newspaper accounts, and other records.
Philip Lambrecht never married and had no children. He was born in Manhattan in January of 1846, one of the 13 children of Anthony and Maria Magdalena Lambrecht. He was raised as a Catholic.
His parents were immigrants from Bavaria (Anthony) and France (Maria Magdalena) who arrived in New York in the early 1830s and were citizens by the end of the 1830s. Philip’s father Anthony owned a stage coach line which ran from what was then Manhattanville to lower Manhattan.
Philip enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 at age 15. He served in C Company of the 9th Infantry Regiment, which was known as Hawkins’ Zouaves until it mustered out in May of 1863. He then re-enlisted serving in two other New York regiments until the end of the war. The New York Times article on his funeral mentions his heroic actions at the Battle of Roanoke.
Police Department records would have to establish when he joined the Department, but he was listed as a Policeman in the 1870 census. He was also listed as giving testimony in court cases by 1869.
At the time of his death he was assigned to the 19th Precinct and seems to have been particularly involved with combating gang violence.
New York Times articles of the era offer descriptions of the incident which led to his death. This involved an assault on him when he came to the aid of another Officer during an arrest in the early hours of February 26, 1872. His skull was fractured and he died in St. Luke’s Hospital on March 14th. His funeral was on March 17th and he was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, as described by the New York Times.
The man who assaulted him was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
The Grand Army of the Republic, the very powerful organization of Civil War Union soldiers, named one of their posts after Philip. He was one of original line of duty deaths placed on the Honor Roll at Police Headquarters in 1912.
Death of Detective Lambrecht — His Muderer in Custody.
Copyright The New York Times, March 15, 1872
Detective Philip Lambrecht, of the Nineteenth Precinct, expired at St. Luke’s Hospital at 8 o’clock yesterday morning, from injuries received by being struck on the head with a heavy slab of marble by George Laverty, during a fracas at the corner of Fifty-ninth- street and Second-avenue, on the morning of the 26th [ult]. On the night of the 25th [ult] a gang of ruffians created a disturbance in the lager-bier-saloon of Louis Muller, No. 883 First-avenue. Patrolman Tully, of the Nineteenth Precinct, who had rendered himself particularly obnoxious to the rough characters infesting the Nineteenth Ward, by the prompt discharge of his duty, entered the place for the purpose of quelling the disturbance, and was nearly murdered by the gang. Detective Lambrecht, Roundsman Webb and Patrolman Tooker were sent to scour the neighborhood in search of the ruffians. The policemen were in plain clothes, and at the corner of Fifty-ninth-street and Second-avenue met a party of five or six drunken laborers who attacked them. The officers defended themselves, and Detective Lambrecht drew his revolver, fired one shot at his assailants, when George Laverty, one of the ruffians, came up behind him and struck him on the back of the head with a heavy slab of marble. Some other policemen having been attracted to the spot, the assailants were arrested and taken to the station-house. Lambrecht was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital. His skull was badly fractured, and he expired yesterday morning. The deceased officer was about twenty-seven years of age, and was always a terror to the ruffians and thieves who infest the Nineteenth Ward. Geo. Laverty is detained to await the action of the Coroner. His brother, Wm, Laverty, whose arm was broken during the affray, and the other assailants, are at present in the Penitentiary, where they were sent for the assault upon Officers Tooker and Webb. An inquest will be held in the case by Coroner Schirmer, on Saturday.
The Murdered Officer
Funeral of Philip Lambrecht Yesterday — Procession and Burial of Laverty’s Victim.
Copyright The New York Times, March 18, 1872
Yesterday, the dead body of Philip Lambrecht, the murdered policeman, lay in state at his house. At 12-1/2 P.M., ten companies of the Metropolitan Police, the entire reserve force, under the command of Superintendent Kelso, Inspectors Dilks and Jameson, and Drill-Capt Copeland, each company led respectively by Capts. Ullman, Allaire, Cameron, Leary, Ward, Kennedy, Thorne, McDermott, Washburne, and Byrnes, proceeded to the foot of East Fifty-fourth-street, to take part in the funeral.
Before the Police Battalion reached the house, the people were thronging toward it from all quarters. The street and sidewalks were crowded, and the piles of lumber in an adjacent lumberyard, were covered with lookers-on. The house, a large, old-fashioned structure standing alone, with wide piazzas on all sides, was besieged by persons anxious to get inside.
Policemen were stationed at the doors, and the crowd were forced to fall in line, enter by the western door, pass through the room where the corpse was lying, and go out by the eastern entrance. In one room Lambrecht’s aged mother, other female relatives, and his younger brothers were seated, overwhelmed with grief and surrounded by sympathizing friends. In the next room was the casket containing the body of the murdered officer, placed upon a bier, and sufficiently near the centre of the room to allow of free passage around it. The casket of rose-wood, had on the lid a silver-plated cross bearing the name and age of the deceased, twenty-six years, two months and three days. Wreaths and a large cross, made up of natural camelias, lilies, rosebuds, and smaller flowers were disposed upon the body.
Shortly after l o’clock the Veteran Association of the Ninth Regiment Volunteers, (Hawkins’ Zouaves,) of which deceased was an honored member, filed into the room to bid him farewell. The steady tramp of policemen was then heard outside, and the force of the Nineteenth Precinct, of which Lambrecht was a member, entered the room.
People said that the Fifty-ninth-street gang of roughs had been long waiting for a chance to get “square on him” for the damaging evidence which he gave against Real in the Smedick murder case. He had shown himself an upright and conscientious officer and they hated him for it. Lambrecht’s record as a Union soldier was referred to with pride by his friends. They narrated how he had done faithful service for two years with Company C, in Hawkins’ Zouaves; how at the battle of Roanoke, he had seized the colors from the falling standard-bearer, advanced forty feet in front of the line, and so inspired his comrades with fresh courage. They told also of his service after the expiration of his first term, with the Eighty-fourth Regiment, New-York Volunteers, under Col. Conklin, his re-enlistment in the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Regiment from New-York, and of his gallant bearing at the fall of Fort Wagner. His brother George, who has been reported to have made threatening remarks toward his brother’s assailant, was desirous, through his friends, of contradicting the statement of such action upon his part.
The coffin was placed in a hearse drawn by four grey horses. The funeral cortege was formed in the following order:
Grafulla’s Seventh Regiment Band.
Company of Zouaves, armed and uniformed.
Veteran Association, with battle-flags.
Superintendent Kelso, and Inspectors Dilks and Jameson.
Police reserve force.
(Capt. Ullman’s men at the head of the column.)
The Lambrecht Homicide
The Prisoner is Found Guilty of Murder in the Second Degree — Sentence Deferred.
Copyright The New York Times, June 2, 1872
George Lavery, indicted for the murder of Officer Philip Lambrecht, was continued on trial yesterday, before Judge Ingraham and a jury, in the Court of Oyer and Terminer. At the opening of the Court, counsel for the defense proceeded to sum up the case on behalf of the prisoner, followed by Mr. Algernon S. Sullivan on behalf of the people. At about 2 o’clock P.M., Judge Ingraham gave the case to the jury in a brief charge, in which be referred to the discrepancies which existed between the testimony for the prosecution and that for the prisoner, as well as between the witnesses for the prisoner themselves; that the story of the prisoner was unsupported by other testimony; that if the throwing of the stone by the prisoner with his utmost strength indicated to the minds of the jury his intent to take life, they would have a right to find him guilty of murder, but if such intent was not apparent to their minds, they could find a verdict for any of the degrees of homicide which the testimony justified. The want of knowledge by the prisoner that the man assailed was an officer could make no difference in the crime, if the prisoner was shown to be the assailant instead of the assailed. An assault on an officer, he said, was of itself a crime, but in the present case he would regard it as wisest for the jury to consider their verdict as though the deceased was a private citizen; and, in conclusion, cautioned them against being swayed by sympathy on either side.
At 4-1/2 o’clock P. M., the jury returned into Court, with a verdict of murder in the second degree, and at the request or the prisoner’s counsel sentence was deferred until to-morrow morning at 10 o’clock.