Inspector Profile: Lewis Bieral

lewis_bieral_attacked On November 1, 1886, Louis Bieral, a.k.a. Lewis Clark, walked into the office of Hans Beattie, Surveyor of the Port of New York, and fired two pistol shots at his former boss. Beattie survived, but he was never the same.

Bieral was one of the most feared men of the 19th century.
He was tattooed all over his body and missing a chunk of his nose, bitten off in a bar fight. Twice accused of murder, he was responsible for attacks on reformers Richard Henry Dana and Dorman Eaton. A “shoulder hitter” for the Democrats, he escorted fugitive slave Anthony Burns back to bondage in 1854. He was a pugilist, well acquainted with “Butcher Bill” Poole and other bare-knuckle boxers. He was a suspicious witness at the 1872 murder of financier Jim Fisk.

Yet, remarkably, Louis Bieral was also a Civil War hero, celebrated for his gallantry at the 1861 Battle of Ball’s Bluff. Similarly, in 1838, he fought Sumatran pirates with the US Navy. He served two decades detecting smugglers as a customs inspector.