Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 18, 1863 (Sunday): The Draft Breeds Discontent

James Barnet Fry

PITTSBURG, PA., July 18, 1 863. (Received 8 p. m.)
    Some uneasiness is felt about a riotous spirit that is thought to exist. To be ready for any emergency I would like to have the battery and two three-months" regiments sent to West Virginia returned. A number of (African-American) men have been drafted and accept as substitutes. No instructions have been received as to their disposition. I think they ought to be got out of the city as soon as possible.

     W. T. H. BROOKS.

CAMP GILES Pottsville, Pa., July 18, 1863.
Colonel JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal-General of the United States:
    COLONEL: In my last communication to you I stated that there were from 4,000 to 5,000 men assembled to resist the draft. Since that time I have learned from reliable information that there are at least 10,000 men that can assemble within twenty-four hours time. My forces here at present will not exceed 150 men, which is entirely inadequate for the purpose they were designed for.
    The provost-marshal of the Twelfth District has made application for men. Captain Tower, the provost-marshal of this place, declines to grant the aid asked for.
     In view of the above state of affairs in this locality, I most respectfully ask for instructions in regard to the same.
     I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,

      Major, U. S. Invalid Corps, Commanding Post.

Refer to Colonel Bomford to use the force so as to complete one job at a time in troublesome districts.
J. B. F.

Official Records, Series III., Vol. 3, Part 1, Pages 543-544.

After the great victory at Gettysburg there was still much opposition to the draft.  Force had to be employed throughout the North to break up opposition which was developing against the draft.  There was great sentiment against the draft in immigrant communities and it often ignited animosity against African-Americans.

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