top of page
New York City Draft Riots
New York Times Article July 15, 1863

The following article is transcribed from the New York Times, dated July 15, 1863:


          If this mob was originated in a passionate spirit of resistance to the Conscription law, it very soon changed its purpose, and assumed the character merely of a mob for robbery, plunder and arson. This is shown in the rifling of houses, hotels and stores, and the assaults and felonies upon the persons of unoffending citizens. Some of the ringleaders are noted thieves, who have served out several terms in Sing Sing and other penitentiaries and prisons. Hundreds of the workmen who joined with the crowd on Monday were, of course, as honest as the average of us, but they were at once joined by all the knaves of the City, who saw in the occasion an opportunity for plunder such as had never before presented itself. They made good use of their opportunity, as hundreds of unfortunate citizens can testify. The whole thing, if it continues, bids fair to become a gigantic mob of plunderers, with no more reference to the Conscription than to the Koran. It is remarkable, and almost incredible, how infectious this spirit becomes. A man who joins in such a mob as this may never have stolen a pin's worth in his life before, but when a jewelry store like that up town, or a mansion like those in Fifth-avenue, is broken into, the temptation is almost irresistible to rush in, and obtain a share of things. If this affair is allowed to go on, if it be not promptly put down, it will quickly result in a state of things such as was never before known in a civilized city. It is now a question of the protection of firesides, property and persons against general plunder. It has nothing to do with the conscription.

bottom of page