July 13 - 1863 - The New York City Draft Riots
The politics of New York City were always different from the rest of the North during the Civil War. Thanks to immigration and machine politics, it was a Democratic stronghold, and that was only strengthened through commercial ties to the South through cotton trading. So it was always iffy about the Union cause. Then, shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Congress passed an Enrollment Act which would require a draft among able bodied men, or at least the ones who couldn't afford to hire a substitute or to pay a commutation. Therefore, when the draft was actually held, riots broke out. Various gangs, some tied to Volunteer Fire Companies, helped spur the general animus. Newspaper offices and government buildings were set on fire. Eventually, African-Americans became the main target. Black men were lynched by the mob. White women who were said to associate with black men were singled out. Most horrifyingly, the Colored Orphan Asylum was completely burned to the ground. The riots were finally quelled when troops were marched quickly from Maryland to Manhattan.