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Autograph Letter from an unidentified sender, New York, July 13, 1863 to his brother and sister

Octavo, three pages, folded, lacks mailing envelope, folded, ink a trifle faded but legible, foredge of second leaf trimmed close, not affecting text, else very good.

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“Dear Brother, Sister and little ones…

              … they have begun to Draft in the city last Saturday and today they are turning things upside down Burning houses, turning over cars, tearing up the tracks stopping stages from running killing policemen hanging negroes in fact having their own way all on account of the Draft and they say the Tribune Herald and evening Post shall all come down to night but it is now eleven o’clock and maybe the next time I shall have more time to write …”

          The New York City draft riots July 13-16, 1863, known at the time as Draft Week, were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of working-class discontent with new laws passed by Congress that year to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The riots remain the largest civil and racial insurrection in American history, aside from the Civil War itself. Initially the rioting was intended to express anger at the draft, the protests turned into a race riot, with white rioters, mainly but not exclusively Irish immigrants, attacking blacks wherever they could find them. The official death toll was listed at 119.