1863-Opting out of the Civil War for $300 and killing BLACKS!

Calling it War pretty well fits the Bill. But about 1000-5000 Blacks were Killed over the Civil War Draft by the Irish! The true number of Deaths will never be known. And no, this one doesn’t get the Attention like the Tulsa Riots just did. But maybe it should. Not everyone cared to fight in the Civil War.

The Civil War Draft was Hated just as much back in 1863 as it was by the end of the Vietnam War!

Once the Civil War draft began in July 1863, many Irish workers had maintained a longstanding distrust of their black peers. Therefore, when people were told they could opt out of the Civil War for $300 (over $5,500 by today’s standards, and an impossible fee for the working class), Irish felt their black countrymen were to blame. A mob of about 500 armed men subsequently set fire to about 50 buildings, including the Colored Orphan Asylum which housed over 230 children. Included in this mob were volunteer firemen who came to be known as the “Black Joke Engine Co. No. 33.” The riots picked up in intensity for four days and wreaked havoc on the black population and on downtown structures, including businesses contributing to wartime production, burning many to the ground. After the riots, the black population in War. New York diminished by 20 percent, with many fleeing the area for safer locations. Safer Towns.

Blacks being Hunted Down for the Slave Trade. In July 1863, over a thousand Irish dockworkers rioted against the Civil War draft in New York City in a four-day upheaval, targeting black workers and citizens. It was an all out Killing Spree. Find’em and Kill’em! Sheer Madness!
Draft riots
The Illustrated London News depicted the riots in 1863
 via Wikimedia Commons
By: Shannon Luders-Manuel 
 May 4, 2017
An enormous historical event that shaped New York City is not much spoken of today. In July 1863, about 1,200 to 1,500 men, mostly Irish dockworkers, rioted against the Civil War Draft in New York City in a four-day upheaval, targeting Black workers and Black citizens. The number of fatalities is unclear, but reports fluctuate between 1000 to over 5,000( these numbers are still debated). It remains the most significant insurrection by civilians in American history. And not all Whites cared to fight in The Civil War.

In the month preceding the July 1863 lottery, in a pattern similar to the 1834 anti-abolition riots, antiwar newspaper editors published inflammatory attacks on the draft law aimed at inciting the white working class. They criticized the federal government’s intrusion into local affairs on behalf of the “Nigger War.” Democratic Party leaders raised the specter of a New York deluged with southern blacks in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation. White workers compared their value unfavorably to that of southern slaves, stating that “[we] are sold for $300 [the price of exemption from war service] whilst they pay $1000 for negroes.” In the midst of war-time economic distress, they believed that their political leverage and economic status was rapidly declining as blacks appeared to be gaining power. On Saturday, July 11, 1863, the first lottery of the conscription law was held. For twenty-four hours the city remained quiet. On Monday, July 13, 1863, between 6 and 7 A.M., the five days of mayhem and bloodshed that would be known as the Civil War Draft Riots began.

The New York Times Article is an incredible read. Here’s an exert-

There were probably not less than a dozen negroes beaten to death in different parts of the City during the day. Among the most diabolical of these outrages that have come to our knowledge is that of a negro cartman living in Carmine-street. About 8 o’clock in the evening as he was coming out of the stable, after having put up his horses, he was attacked by a crowd of about 400 men and boys, who beat him with clubs and paving-stones till he was lifeless, and then hung him to a tree opposite the burying-ground. Not being yet satisfied with their devilish work, they set fire to his clothes and danced and yelled and swore their horrid oaths around his burning corpse. The charred body of the poor victim was still still hanging upon the tree at a late hour last evening.

At about five o’clock a large body of rioters, differently estimated from one hundred to three hundred, — the latter much the nearer figure — marched down Broadway with a banner, inscribed “No Draft” with the American flag, and with every conceivable diabolical weapon. They amused themselves en route by cheering and groaning at will, and occasionally killing or maiming every “nigger” they met. When below Fourteenth-street they avowed their determination of entering the La Farge House and seizing every colored servant there. Fortunately they were met at Amity-street — unexpectedly to them — by a body of Police some two hundred strong, under Inspector CARPENTER and Sergeant COPELAND. The Police instantly formed company front, and, with Inspector CARPENTER far in advance, at once charged on the “double quick.” The fight for a few moments was savage and terrific. Men fell by the dozen under the sturdy blows of the Police, who had orders to “make no prisoners,” and in five minutes naught was left of the lawless horde but the bodies of those ruffians who were knocked senseless lying on the ground. Too much credit cannot be awarded to the Police for their behavior on this occasion. They did not know whether one hundred or five thousand of the lawless were their adversaries, nor did they wait to ascertain. On they charged, and in five minutes were masters of the situation. Capt. CARPENTER was far ahead of his men, with reckless courage, rushing into the midst of the mob, and handling his club against fearful odds. It is a wonder he was not killed. This charge, and its success, must have had a salutary effect, being the first regular fight with the organized mob, and showing them that the Police are their superiors.

The colored people are having a hard time of it. They are attacked everywhere and beaten. They crowded about the police stations last night, asking for protection, being prevented from going to their homes, or even walking the streets.

And there even a Song back then-


This Civil War-era song sheet refers to a provision in the draft laws passed by Congress in March of 1863 which allowed men to either pay $300 or provide a substitute to avoid serving in the Union Army. The provision was a source of resentment for many poor and working-class northerners, some of whom felt the war had become “the rich man’s war and the poor man’s fight.” Thus the ironic tone of the song’s lyrics, heightened by the humorous illustration of the two figures on the song sheet’s cover: one man, disheveled in appearance and clearly disgruntled, grumbles “I’m drafted,” while his more aristocratic-looking counterpart proclaims “I ain’t.”

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