Ch. V.]

making the draft to furnish the number of men. required. Each name of this class in the sub-district was written upon a separate slip of paper, and placed in a wheel, or circular box, which was then made to revolve, and a name was drawn out and registered. This process was continued until the requisite number of names had been obtained. The person drafted was obliged to report immediately for duty, under penalty, unless he furnished a substitute, or paid $300 computation money.*

The draft, as we have stated on a previous page (see p. 258), was thoroughly unpopular, and politicians were not lacking in zeal in pointing out its odious features, and in berating the government for resorting to so oppressive a measure. The annual elections were considerably influenced by popular denunciation on this subject; in several quarters vigorous efforts were made to

I have the conscription act pronounced unconstitutional; and the result was looked for with much anxiety by loyal men, as a test of the strength and ability of the government. Strenuous exertions were made in the different states to fill the quotas under the call of the president for 300,000 men; but as they were only partially successful, the machinery for the draft was set in motion early in the month of July.

As was perhaps to be expected, this novel and, as many called it, despotic mode of filling up the ranks of the

I army, was not allowed to be enforced

* On the subject of "Enrollment and Draft," consult the article in Appleton's"American Annual Cyclopedia " for 1883. pp. 361-371. VOL. IV—48.


without rousing some of the worst passions of human nature, and giving rise to disgraceful scenes of riot and bloodshed. Particularly was this the case in the city of New York, which has a mixed and diverse population, a considerable portion of whom demagogues and mischief-makers have not found it difficult, at times, to persuade to evil courses, and excite to deeds of violence and cruelty. After several postponements, Col. Nugent, the provost-marshal of the city, completed all the arrangements for the draft, and it was announced through the press, by Capt. Jenkins, marshal of the ninth congressional district in New York, that, on Saturday, Ju]y Hth, the ballots would be publicly counted, at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 46th Street, and that immediately thereafter the wheel would be turned and the draft begun. More or less of trouble was apprehended, and the police was held in readiness for any emergency. The number required from the city was 20,000, to which fifty per cent, was to be added to cover exemptions. Over 1,200 names were drawn in this district, and though a large crowd had gathered to witness the proceedings, the day passed off pleasantly and without any disturbance. Loyal citizens and the guardians of the public peace breathed more freely, and rejoiced in the conviction that there was no further danger, and that all would go well.

Sunday, however, intervened, unfoi tunately for the carrying forward the draft. Evil minded persons availed themselves of the sacred day of rest for the purpose of stirring up a spirit hos tile to the enforcement of the law, and combinations were formed to resist it by force, even to bloodshed. The commutation clause, allowing exemption, on the payment of $300, was invidiously represented as a privilege of the rich at the expense of the poor, and much popular feeling was excited on this account by those who misrepresented the motives of the enactment. Political and other prejudices were also excited among the people, particularly an absurd and unjust apprehension of the competition of the emancipated negro race with the northern laboring classes, while the compulsory operation of the draft upon those who could not readily escape from it was undoubtedly a prominent cause of disaffection. The result was, a resolution by a number of desperate characters, acting as leaders, to break up, by force, all further proceeding with the draft.


On Monday morning, July 13th, organized bodies of men, abandoning their usual employments, went from yard to yard, and from shop to shop, compelling those at work to leave and join the processions which were marching towards the corner of 3rd Avenue and 46th Street. A vast crowd was gathered, and the officers, unconscious of danger, entered upon the morning's work. The draft recommenced, and a few names had been drawn from the wheel, when a huge paving stone came crashing through the window, dashing in pieces the glass, and knocking over several persons. Other stones speedily followed, and made havoc among the officials and reporters behind the railing. Immediately thereafter the mob,

with frantic yells, rushed upon the place, seized and destroyed the records, and smashed in pieces the desks, tables, and boxes in the office. "With savage fury, the mob set fire to the building, regardless of women and children in the upper part of it; with horrible perversity, they took possession of the hydrants and refused to allow the firemen to use them in subduing the flames; and, in two hours' time, the whole block was a pile of smoking ruins. Policesuperintendent Kennedy appeared on the ground, was attacked by the rioters, and was nearly killed before lie could be rescued from his assailants. The mob now having attained to vast proportions, and being joined by gangs of thieves and scoundrels from every , hole and corner of the city, entered on a career of murder, pillage, and arson. The Bull's Head Hotel, on 44th Street, was burned down, because the proprietor refused to furnish rum for the rioters; several brown-stone houses in Lexington Avenue, and various other dwellings, were destroyed by fire; the Armory in the 2nd Avenue, come; of 21st Street, was attacked, an« after a brave defence by a small police force, was set on fire and burned to the ground; the Colored Orphan Asylum, on 5th Avenue, was furiously assailed, and with circumstances of unheard of cruelty towards the inmates, was sacked and reduced to a mass of ruins; the Tribune newspaper office was attacked, and only saved from destruction by a vigorous onset of the police; and everywhere the reign of terror seemed to have set in, as if all law and order were paralyzed, and as if the great city was

Ch. V.]

given over to raging demons, and doomed to absolute ruin.

Unhappily, the militia of the city were absent, having been summoned to join the forces in Pennsylvania, which Lee had invaded, and had not yet returned home. This threw the burden of checking the mob upon the police, and such small detachments of the United States troops as could be spared from the forts in the harbor. The Metropolitan Police at this time numbered about 2,000 men, of whom only 800 could be separated from their special duties to make head against the mob.

1863 "^"8 Par^es of *ne rioters appeared at the same time in different quarters of the city, even this force had to be divided, the largest number in one command being 350. They were assisted to some extent by special policemen sworn in from the citizens. Wherever they appeared, the mob felt the effects of their discipline and organization; and, in fact, during the day and night, the safety of the city depended almost wholly on the bravery and devotion of these guardians of the metropolis.

On Tuesday, the malignant character of the mob seemed to have increased, if that were possible. Apparently, they were masters of everything; they continued their work of destruction; they threatened the city with a general conflagration; they assaulted and pursued and murdered every negro man, woman, and child who came within their reach; and they plundered stores and dwellings and private citizens with impunity. Mayor Opdyke issued a proclamation, but to no purpose; Gov. Seymour did


the same, and with as little effect; the governor addressed a large crowd from the City Hall steps, begged them to preserve peace and order, stated that he had written to Washington and obtained a suspension of the draft for the present, etc. Gen. Wool called out the "veteran volunteers," and assigned to Gen. Harvey Brown the command of the Federal troops in the city; while Gen. Sandford aided him in every way in his power with such of the militia as could be gathered together. Prompt and energetic action was felt to be absolutely necessary. The military and police met the mob with decision wherever it attempted to make head; there was no further scruple at using ball cartridges; the rioters were frequently driven from one locality to appear again in another; and by ^degrees, the ringleaders having been killed or made prisoners, this disgraceful outbreak began to be subdued.

During Wednesday, the 15th, and Thursday, the 16th of July, the riot was still active, although greatly reduced in its capacity for mischief; on the latter day, the citizens began again to open their places of business; the cars and stages resumed their running; and there was now a sufficiently strong military force in the city to quell all disturbance and compel obedience to the laws.* For several days, cavalry

* On the 16th the Romish archbishop, John Hughes, had a placard posted about the city, addressed " To the men of New York, who are now called in many of the papers rioters," and asking them to visit him the next day, when he said he would make a speech to them. An immense crowd gathered at two P.M. on Friday, in Madison A venue, corner of 36th Street, and listened to a characteristic address, made up of jokes and appeals of one kind and another to obey the laws, etc.


and other troops were on duty, patrolling the streets, and enforcing order; but there was no further attempt at riot, and the city resumed its usual peaceful course. The exact number of the killed during these fearful days is not known. From the several reports at the time it appears, that eighteen persons were killed by the rioters, eleven of whom were negroes. Col. O'Brien, an officer of the city militia, after sparing the rioters by firing over their heads, was caught by them and brutally murdered. Several policemen were killed in the discharge of their duty, or died of their wounds. In two days over fifty buildings were burned. The

1863 aSSTeSa^e amotmt of property destroyed and stolen was estimated at over $1,500,000. The rioters, on their part, suffered severely. Several hundred of them were killed, or died of wounds received in conflict with the poliee and military.

The reaction from the riot was in favor of the authority of the government. The draft was the following month enforced in the city without opposition, Gen. Dix having, in the mean time, succeeded Gen. Wool, in charge of the eastern department. The draft, after various delays, was enforced in twelve states, bringing 50,000 soldiers into the service, and by the commutation clause contributing the large sum of over $10,000,000 to be employed as a fund for procuring substitutes. The negroes of the city, who had been so cruelly persecuted, were promptly relieved by the kindness and liberality of the citizens. A general committee was appointed by the merchants, who re

ceived and disbursed over $40,000, spontaneously contributed for the relief of the sufferers, to whom every assistance was given in making good their claims against the city for their losses* There were riotous demonstrations in other places, but none of such formidable proportions as in the city of New York. In Boston, on the night of July 15th, a riot broke out connected with the draft, which threatened at first to become very serious in its consequences. The Armory in Cooper Street was attacked between eight and nine o'clock P.m. by a mob of nearly 1,000 men and boys; and had it not been resolutely defended by a strong force, who fired upon the rioters and charged with the bayonet, killing six or eight and wounding a large number, the mob would certainly have accom plished its wicked design. Fortunately for Boston and the safety of the city, there was not only an energetic police force on duty, but the military were sufficiently numerous to put down any outbreak against the public peace and order. At Portsmouth, New Hampshire, there was an incipient riot on the day of drafting, an attack being made on the police station house to rescue two men who had been arrested; but the crowd was speedily dispersed by a squad of soldiers, and all further resistance to the draft in Portsmouth ceased. In Holmes County, Ohio, in the month of June, there was a disturbance which gave no little trouble to the authorities;

* Seo the " Beport of the Merchants' Committee fol the relief of colored people suffering from the riots in the city of Now York," with the interesting report of the secretary, Mr. Vincent Colyer, included in the pamphlet.

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the details are not important here; happily, 'at last, public peace was restored without the government being compelled to slaughter the rioters in their lawless career.*

The general sentiment of the country, notwithstanding a powerful and factious opposition in various quarters, was in favor of the measures adopted by the government, and the autumn elections justified the confidence of the friends of the administration. For, every state in which elections were held, with the single exception of New Jersey, voted to sustain the government; and in all the most populous and important states, the majorities we're unusually large, and consequently expressive of the convictions of the people in the present condition 1of affairs. Vallandingham, as we have before stated (p. 340), was defeated in Ohio by 100,000 majority against him; in New York, which had elected Horatio Seymour governor, the previous autumn, by a democratic majority of 10,000, at an election held in November, for state officers, viz.: secretary of state, comptroller, members of the legislature, etc., the majority in favor of the administration candidates was but little short of 30,000; and in Pennsylvania, notwithstanding the most vigorous efforts of the democratic party, Gen. McClellan even taking part in the canvass, Governor Curtin was re-elected by more than 15,000 majority.f "The result," as Mr. Raymond says, "was

* See Appleton's "American Annual Cyclopadia," for 1863, pp. 817-818.

f McClellan's letter to a Philadelphia paper, under date of October 12th, 1863, in favor of Judge Wood

justly claimed as a decided verdict of the people in support of the government. It was so regarded by all parties throughout the country, and its effect upon their action was of marked importance. While it gave renewed vigor and courage to the friends of the administration everywhere, it developed the division of sentiment in the ranks of the opposition, which, in its incipient stages, had largely contributed to their defeat. The majority of that party were inclined to acquiesce in the deliberate judgment of the country, that the rebellion could be subdued only by successful war, and to sustain the government in whatever measures might be deemed necessary for its effectual prosecution; but the resolute resistance of some of its more conspicuous leaders withheld them from open action in this direction."*

Mr. Lincoln having been censured, on the ground of leaving, as was alleged, the suspension of habeas cotyus to military commanders, instead of acting directly himself, as it was said he ought to do, he issued a proclamation, in order to establish a uniform mode of action and obviate all objection. Having enumerated the various classes of persons held by officers of the United States under control, for being spies, traitors, aiders and abettors of the enemy, deserters, persons resisting the draft, etc., he said :—" Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and

ward, the democratic candidate for governor of Penn sylvania, was sharply criticised, and was, at best, of very doubtful expediency.—See Appleton's "Amer icon Annual Cyclopaedia " for 1863, p. 740. * Raymond's " Life of Abraham Lincoln," p. 444.

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