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The Pittiful Home Front
Riots of the North and South

Most Popular and Publicized Riots

Some of the biggest riots during the Civil War took place in New York and Cincinatti. They were draft riots, they were started either by anti-war civilians or the soldiers getting recruited. But the biggest riot on record was no doubt the New York riot.

The New York Draft Riots
The riots that broke out in New York City were both the most violent and the most publicized.
        With a large and powerful Democratic party operating in the city, a dramatic show of different opinions had been long in the making. The state's popular governor, Horatio Seymour, did not agree with President Lincoln and his policies. In addition, the Enrollment Act shocked a population already tired of the war that had been going on for 2 years.
        By the time the names of the first draftees were drawn in New York City on July 11, reports about the batlle of Gettysburg had been published in city papers. Lincoln's call for 300,000 more young men to fight a war that never seemed to end frightened even those who supported the Union. In addition, the Enrollment Act contained several exclusions, including the payment of a commutation fee that allowed wealthier and more powerful citizens to buy their way out of the war.


On this page of our site you will learn about the riots that took place during the Civil War. The riots were mainly caused by outraged citicens and soldeirs that didn't want to get drafted.

The Civil War was the first American war when soldiers were drafted. The South was first side to draft soldiers, followed by the North. In March of 1863, the National conscription act was passed. Draftees would be called by a random pick. Once picked, a draftee had the opportunity to either pay a commutation fee of $300 to be excluded from a particular battle, or to hire a replacement that would exclude him from the entire war. Over the course of the riots, Negroes were often the target of many of the rioters. Lincoln called upon federal troops to bring order to the rioters. There are various estimates of the number of dead and wounded ranging from 70 to 1,000.


The New York Draft Riots

        On Sunday, June 12, the names of the draftees drawn the day before by the Provost Marshall were published in newspapers. Within hours, groups of angry citizens, many of them Irish immigrants, came together across the city. Eventually the number of people grew up to 50,000, the mob terrorized neighborhoods on the East Side of New York for three days looting scores of stores. Black people were the targets of most attacks on citizens. There were several lynchings and beatings throughout the 3 days of madness. In addition to the lynchings and beatings a black church and orphanage were burned down. In all, the mob caused more than $1.5 million of damage. The number killed or wounded during the riot is unknown, but estimates range from two dozen to nearly 100. In the end the union had only gained 150,000 of their intended 300,000