A no-frills day-by-day account of what was happening 150 years ago, this blog is intended to be a way that we can experience or remember the Civil War with more immediacy, in addition to understanding the flow of time as we live in it.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
July 19, 1863
July 19, 1863
---New York Draft Riots –
The principal part of the crisis is apparently over, but New York is left in
chaos and wholesalw destruction. Over $1,500,000.00
worth of private property was destroyed.
Conservative estimates place the deaths at over a thousand.
---George Templeton Strong, who
observed the riots as closely and personally as anyone could, offers this shocked
assessment, and a surprisingly virulent tirade against the Irish:
Not half of this memorable week has
been written. I could put down pages of
incidents that the newspapers have omitted, any one of which in ordinary times
be the town’s talk. Men and ladies attacked
and plundered by daylight in the streets; private houses suddenly invaded by
gangs of a dozen ruffians and sacked, while the women and children run off for
their lives. Then there is the
unspeakable infamy of the nigger persecution.
They are the most peacable, sober, and inoffensive of our poor, and the
outrages they have suffered during this last week are less excusable---are
founded on worse pretext and less provocation---than St. Bartholomew’s or the
Jew-hunting of the Middle Ages. This is
a nice town to call itself a centre of civilization! Life and personal property less safe than in
Tipperary, and the “people” (as the Herald calls them) burning orphan asylums
and conducting a massacre. How this
infernal slavery system has corrupted our blood, North as well as South! . . .
I am sorry to find that England is
right about the lower class of Irish.
They are brutal, base, cruel, cowards, and as insolent as base. Choate (at the Union League Club) tells me he
heard this proposition put forth by one . . . with a knot of his brethren last
Monday: “Sure and if them dam Dutch would jine us we’d drive the dam Yankees
out of New York entirely!” These
caitiffs have a trick, I hear, of posting themselves at the window of a
tenement house with a musket, while a woman with a baby in her arms squats at their
feet. Paddy fires on the police and
instantly squats to reload, while Mrs. Paddy rises and looks out. Of course, one can’t fire at a window where
there is a woman with a child!! But how
is one to deal with women who assemble around the lamp-post to which a Negro
had been hanged and cut off certain parts of his body to keep as
souvenirs? Have they any womanly
privilege, immunity, or sanctity?
No wonder St. Patrick drove all the
venomous vermin out of Ireland! Its
biped mammalia supply that island its full average share of creatures that
crawl and eat dirt and poison every community they infest. Vipers were superfluous. But my own theory is that St. Patrick’s
campaign against the snakes is a Popish delusion. They perished of biting the Irish people.
---Battle of Buffington Island, Ohio
– Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s plan is to cross the Ohio into West Virginia, and
then to cut across to Pennsylvania and join Lee there. It is a grandiose plan, and when Morgan
discovers that Lee has already been beaten, he alters the plan, and attempts to
cross at Pomeroy. There, on the 18th,
he finds Federal troops and gunboats in the river, so the Rebel troopers head
20 miles east to Buffington Island.
Facing him here are three U.S. Navy gunboats under Lt. Cmdr Leroy
Fitch. Behind him are two columns of
Federal cavalry under Judah and Hobson, who have the Rebels more or less
bottled up in that bend of the Ohio River.
Fitch begins the fight by shelling Morgan’s field artillery. Judah attacks, and is driven back, and then
Hobson attacks, with some success. Soon,
the Rebel line is formed into a right angle, each face to fend off the
now-coordinated attack of both Judah and Hobson. Col. Basil Duke is in command of the 700
Rebels left, as Morgan and 1,100 of his remaining riders move swiftly up a
riverside path. Duke and the rest try to
cross the Ohio, but the naval gunboats rake the roads at the crossing with
grape and canister. Basil Duke
surrenders his 700 men, and Morgan escapes north. Thus ends the only Civil War battle fought in
Ohio. Union Victory. The Federals
lose 25 killed and a larger number wounded.
The Rebels lose 52 killed, over 100 wounded, and 750 captures.
Site of the Battle of Buffington Island, showing the dispositions of U.S. Naval vessels
---This evening, Morgan and his subordinate,
Col. “Stovepipe” Johnson, attend to swim their riders across the Ohio River
into West Virginia. Stovepipe Johnson
makes it with 300 men, but when Morgan and the remaining 750 try, the USS Moose
under Fitch steams into view. Morgan
goes back to the Ohio shore, and rides on north.