denounced in bitter terms, and the President
and his Cabinet were stigmatized as “murderers” and “despots.”
The train was, beyond a doubt, being carefully laid, when an unexpected spark brought about a premature explosion.
The 11th of July was the date appointed for the draft to begin.
As that day fell on Saturday its selection was particularly ill-advised, the Sabbath holiday which followed affording the ignorant masses, as well as the disaffected element of the population, an opportunity for studying into the situation through the morning papers, and of discussing the prospect over their liquor — the probable result of which might have been easily foreseen.
Some slight impediments had been placed in the way of the enrolling officers, but nothing had occurred to excite apprehensions of any outbreak, and the first day's work of conscription passed off in a quiet and orderly manner.
The drafting took place in the deputy provost marshal's office, at the corner of Forty-sixth street and Third avenue, and 1,236 names were peacefully drawn that day out of the 1,500 called for from the Twenty-second ward.
It was believed that the popular enthusiasm created by the routing of Lee
's army had effectually silenced the antiwar party.
Some hopeful ones expressed the belief that the contest was so near its close that even if the draft went on the conscripts would never be called for in the field.
Then that fatal Sunday intervened.
On the following morning the papers stated that the Irish laboring classes in the Twentieth ward, where the draft was to be
held that day were in a state of intense excitement, and threatened to resist it to the utmost.
The threat was speedily put into execution.
The Sunday deliberations had evidently led to a determination to break up the drafting depot in Third avenue. About nine o'clock in the morning fifty rough and rowdyish-looking fellows were observed, by persons doing business on the East
river, in the region of Grand street, prowling along the wharves and picking up recruits.
Gaining insolence by increase of numbers, they entered the foundries and warehouses, and by persuasion and threats induced the workmen to join them.
Simultaneously with this movement a similar one was progressing on the west side.
About ten o'clock a large body of laboring men and ill-favored ruffians, armed mostly with clubs and bludgeons, after holding a brief parley in a vacant lot near Central Park
, marched down Forty-seventh street to Third avenue. The deputy marshal's office was immediately entered, Captain Jenkins
and his assistants retreating precipitately through a rear door.
The wheel containing the names was carried away safely, but all the books and papers that