Friday, April 17, 2009
Image: "Dragging Colonel O' Brien's body through the mud." Published in Harper's Weekly. August 1, 1863.
The riots were in full swing by the second day of rioting as protesters built barricades from debris in numerous neighborhoods to keep police out. Rioters targeted wealthy Republican homes and businesses, and African-Americans with brutal beatings and lynchings. William Williams, an African-American sailor, was walking down the street, and he asked a boy where the nearest grocery store was. Edward Canfield saw this and led a group of white men to where Williams was standing. He was beaten, stabbed, then left there to die. Rioters also attacked whites who helped African-Americans. By now, it was no longer about the draft, but was just an all-out assault of African-Americans and the Republican elite. The violence and destruction of the second day worsened as Henry O'Brien, the commander of the 11th New York volunteers, set off a cannon in the street over a mob of rioters' heads. This act was meant to scatter the mob, but instead, it ended in a possessed search for O'Brien. The cannon was said to have either wounded two children or killed seven people (sources disagree). The crowd went looking for O'Brien after he fled the scene and quickly succeeded in finding and murdering him. The famous Brooks Brothers clothing store was the scene of a major battle with the rioters and police. The rioters looted the store, destroying it completely and causing more than $50,000 in damage costs from stolen clothes and property damage. They were thought to have most likely targeted Brooks Brothers because of previous lost jobs. While all this was happening, Democrat and Republican leaders were arguing about the riots, and even if they had the right to protest. They all agreed that the violence had to cease. Governor Seymour, a Democrat, came to the city and gave a speech to the rioters. Many Republicans were angry after his speech because Governor Seymour seemed to side with the rioters and was way too friendly with the violent protesters. Mayor Opdyke, a Republican, sent for federal troops, but would not call for Marshall Law which would give control of the city to the federal government.
Image: "Battle in Second Avenue and Twenty-Second Street, at the Union Steam Works, July 14." Published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. August 1, 1863.