New York, July 13, 1863
Colonel James B. Fry
Provost Marshal General
My Head Quarters are destroyed and the draft in the Ninth district of this state is temporarily suspended. My lists etc are I think preserved in the safe.
I opened my Head Quarters this morning at 7.15 o clock and soon after began to receive reports from my special officers who are well acquainted with the district and which satisfied me that an attempt would be made to stop the draft. They were trustworthy men and I was obliged to believe the reports. I at once sent a request to AAPM G Nugent to detail for my support a sergeant two …
July 13th, marks the 150th anniversary of the New York City Draft Riots, violent protests against the Civil War draft that lasted four days and resulted in over 1,000 casualties and millions of dollars of property destruction.
This document provides an eyewitness account from the Ninth District Provost Marshal office. Located on the corner of Third Avenue and 46th Street, the Ninth District office was chosen to begin the draft on July 11th because it was in a less densely populated part of 19th century Manhattan; Provost Marshal General James Fry elected to stagger the draft process to subdue potential rebellion. Within a half hour of resuming the draft lottery on July 13th, the building was overtaken by hundreds of people and burned to the ground. At the time this letter was written, the full extent of damage was still unknown. Similar acts of vandalism and destruction were reported throughout the city as the riots spread. The mobs initially targeted government buildings and representatives before focusing their violence towards the African-American community.