The Volcano Under the City: The Significance of Draft Rioting in New York City and State

Iver Bernstein
From State of the Union: New York and the Civil War

“In July 1863, at a crucial turning point in the Civil War, armed mobs halted the effort of the Lincoln administration to conduct the first federal draft and virtually took over New York City in what was to become the bloodiest urban riot in American history. At times the riots almost seemed to be a distinct battle in the war–mobs raided armories for weapons and destroyed telegraph lines, railroads, ferries and bridges… The uprising ended in a series of titanic armed confrontations on the city’s industrial Upper East Side in which Union troops, battle-weary from Gettysburg, retook poor Irish Catholic districts in the manner of war zones.”

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