On July 6, 1863, President Lincoln signed this document authorizing the drafting of 4,942 men from New York City’s 8th District, which later became known as Hell’s Kitchen. It directly sparked the worst rioting in American history.
The first drawing of names in New York City took place peaceably on Saturday, July 11. The following Monday, when the draft resumed, a crowd of 500, primarily Irish, attacked the Provost Marshal’s office on Third Avenue in lower Manhattan where the lottery was taking place. Telegraph lines were cut and streetcars overturned. John Kennedy, the New York City police superintendent, was badly beaten and barely escaped with his life. The riot spread uptown with buildings ranging from the Armory to the offices of the New York Times being attacked. Police were quickly overwhelmed.