Major McKinstry, the Provost Marshal, has arrested John A. Brownlee, the President of the Board of Police Commissioners, and has appointed Basil Duke in his stead. The laws of the city and State will be executed without change.
-Daily National Intelligencer, August 16, 1861
Charles Mclaren, Basil W. Duke and James H. Carlisle, secession Police Commissioners, have been removed by Governor Gamble.
-Boston Daily Advertiser, September 2, 1861
Duke's appointment as Police Commissioner is an example of the difficulties that pro-Union forces had in gaining control of St. Louis and Missouri. Duke, a former member of the Cyclone Club, had secessionist sympathies and, in April of 1861, had undertaken a mission to the South in an attempt to purchase arms for the pro-Confederate Missouri militia.