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The Roach Guards

The Roach Guards were an Irish street gang in New York City's Five Points neighborhood during the early 19th century. Originally formed to protect New York liquor merchants in Five Points, the gang soon began committing robbery and murder.

The Roach Guards began fighting with rivals the Bowery Boys and former Roach Guard members known as the Dead Rabbits. The feud between the Roach Guards and the Dead Rabbits was especially violent as they fought over the Bowery area. Despite constant fighting, they managed to hold their own in the "slugger battles" against the more organized and disciplined Bowery Boys. The Roach Guards, however, began to decline during the 1850s, disappearing entirely by the end of the American Civil War in 1865.