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city, April 26, 1861, when a benevolent organization
known as " The AYomen's Central Relief association"
was organized.

It was designed to carry relief to sick and wounded
soldiers, and collected five millions in cash and supplies
to the value of fifteen millions, all of which was dis-
tributed through its various branches in the cities of
the north.

1861] Summary 429

The christian commission, a twin organization
of the sanitary commission, also had its origin in
IN'ew York. It followed the armies for the distribution
of clothing, hospital supplies, food and reading matter
for convalescent soldiers. During the war it raised
and contributed nearly seven millions.


1. Attitude of New York toward secession.

2. General Dix.

3. Governor Morgan's message.

4. New York in the election of 1860.

5. Governor Seymour's attitude.

6. Mr. Lincoln in Albany, February, 1861.

7. New York's response to first call for troops.

8. New York in 1861 ; her quota and response.

9. The Seventh New York in the Avar.

10. Mayor Fernando AVood on the war.

11. " Secessionists " ; " copperheads ".

12. Action of Xew York legislature.

13. Sanitary commission.

14. Christian commission.



The Opponents of the U^^ioj^ in Control

The re-action of 1862. — By the autumn of this
year the State began to experience the natural results
of the prodigious efforts she had put forth.

She had sent to the field 219,000 men. Nearly 300
millions had been contributed in bounties to volun-
teers, in payment for equipments and in gifts and
loans to the nation.

The withdrawal of so many men, largely from the
producing class, and of so large an amount of money
from business had greatly diminished the resources of
the State and a financial stringency began to be felt.

To make the situation still more grave, our armies
had won no considerable success in the field. Of bat-
tles and skirmishes 616 had been fought, among them
Bull Run, Fair Oaks, Gaines Mills, South Mountain,
Antietam and Fredericksburg, — all entailing heavy
losses, — and yet the end was not in sight.

Volunteering was still active among the masses, but
those who had opposed the war took advantage of the
situation to declare that it was a failure, scored all its
advocates as abolitionists, and entered upon the State
campaign with the demand that hostilities must cease.

State election of 1862. — The republican candi-
date for governor was James S. Wadsworth, who had
in 1861 chartered a steamer at his own expense, loaded


1862] The Democrats in Power 431

it with provisions, and gone to the relief of the sol-
diers stationed at Washington*.

On Sept. 22, the democrats nominated Horatio Sey-
mour. President Lincoln had issued his preliminary
proclamation, announcing that in all those States and
parts of States which should be in rebellion on the first
day of January following, the slaves would be declared
free. Although at the time this was intended purely
as a war measure, it was used as a proof that the war
was being prosecuted for the purpose of abolition.
Soldiers in the field were not allowed to vote, and Mr.
Seymour was elected by 11,000 majority, — the whole
number of votes cast being nearly 73,000 less than in

As an indication of the spirit of the campaign and
of the influences which carried the election, a brief
quotation may be given from Mr. Seymour's speech
in accepting the nomination for governor. He said:
" The scheme for an immediate emancipation and general
arming of the slaves throughout the States is a proposal
for the butchery of women and children; for scenes
of lust and rapine, of arson and murder, unparalleled
in the history of the world. The horrors of the French
revolution would become tame in comparison."

The peace faction. — Governor Seymour's message
to the legislature was, in the main, a protest against
the conduct of the government. He gave what was
called a history of the causes which led to the war,
and arraigned the national administration for its part

* Later, in the battle of the Wilderness, he fell at
the head of his division.

432 The Peace Faction [Period X

in it. This had its effect in the riots which followed,
and was a source of great encouragement to the con-
federate cause.

The opponents of the war, known as the " peace
faction ", did much to hinder the success of the union
arms. They planned a great demonstration for the 4th
of July, and though not so imposing an affair as they
expected, it gave them an opportunity to express their
sentiments. They ridiculed the attempt to capture
Vicksburg, which they pronounced " inpregnable " ;
they sneered at President Lincoln's call for men to
expel Lee from Pennsylvania as a " midnight cry for
help"; when, had telegraph lines been in working
order, they would have known, at the very hour of their
meeting, that Vicksburg had already surrendered,
and that Lee, hurled back from Pilot Knob and Ceme-
tery Ridge, was on his final retreat from northern soil.

The identical day on which they pronounced the
war a failure, has, in history, been named " the high-
tide of the rebellion "*.

The draft riots. — In April, 1863, the president
had issued another call for 300,000 men. The quotas
in many counties could not be filled by volunteers even
when enormous bounties were offered. In all these
districts " drafts " were ordered.

In New York city the drawing was to begin on July
11. When the lists of those liable to the draft were
posted there were intimations of trouble. Some of

* It was a most singular coincidence that Vicksburg
surrendered to Grant, and Lee was driven from Gettys-
burg on the 4th day of July, 1863, while this meeting
was in progress.

1863] The Draft Riots 433

the marshalls were attacked while putting up the
notices. Several influential journals, in editorials cal-
culated to inflame the passions of the disorderly ele-
ments of the city, declared that the draft was " un-
constitutional ", N"ew York's quota " excessive '', and
the acts of the government " tyrannical ". In addition
to this, hand-bills were circulated in grog-shops and
other places where they would reach the dangerous
classes, calling on men to " resist the draft ". To
make matters still worse, the militia of the State had
mostly been sent to Pennsylvania against Lee, and had
not yet returned. The draft began on Saturday and
next day the Sunday newspapers contained lists of
names of those who had been drawn.

On Monday rioting began. Travel was impeded by
taking the horses from the street cars in the vicinity
of the marshall's office. Immediately a crowd was
formed which bore down upon the office like a wave,
smashed the windows, drove out the sixty policemen
guarding the place, and fired the building.

When the fire department arrived, the crowd, now
become a mob, would not allow water to be turned on.
The chief of police was attacked and beaten to insen-

Similar scenes occurred in other parts of the city.
Toward evening the rioters formed a procession and
marched down Broadway in a compact mass, with
drums and banners and firearms. They were met by
a body of two hundred policemen under inspector
Daniel Carpenter, whose orders were " Take no prison-
ers ! Strike quick and hard!'' The battle was a short
one, but when it was over Broadway was strewn with

434 Father Malone's Flag [Period X

dead and wounded men, — rioters and policemen. The
mob set upon every negro they met, man, woman, or
child, and they burned the colored orphan asylum at
Fifth avenue and 44th street.

These scenes lasted for three days, when a few hun-
dred soldiers, returning from sick-leave, were organ-
ized to assist the police, two or three regiments were
recalled from Pennsylvania, and order was once more
restored. Not less than 1,000 of the mob had been
killed, 50 policemen severely injured and three killed,
while property to the value of two millions had been

Among many deeds of personal heroism, one may be
mentioned. The American flag wherever displayed
was an object of attack. A certain Catholic priest,
later a venerable and honored member of the Board
of Regents, kept his flag flying, and himself guarded
it with a musket.

Such examples did much to encourage the police and
hearten the friends of good order. The governor of
the State was criticised for addressing the mob as " my
friends ", and for a telegram sent to President Lin-
coln, proposing that the draft should be stopped
" until its constitutionality could be decided by the


1. Reaction of 1862; cause of.

2. Effect on State elections, 1862.

3. New York in 1863; the '' peace faction ".

4. Their Fourth of July celebration; Gettysburg
and Vicksburg.

1863] Summary 435

5. The " high-tide of the rebellion ".

6. Draft riots; cause, story of.

7. A patriotic priest.

8. Governor Seymour's action.

Once More under Loyal Control

The Union Leagne club. — The political conflict
in the State brought out a most remarkable organiz-
ation known as " the Union League club ". This was
organized in the city of Xew York, March 30, 1863,
for the purpose of giving support to the national gov-
ernment in all its struggles.

Among the first acts of this club was a request to
Governor Seymour for permission to organize a regi-
ment of colored troops in the State. On his refusal
they applied to the secretary of war, who gave the
necessary authority, and within one week the regiment ivas
ready, — the "Union League club" contributing 118,-
000 toward its equipment.

No organization did more to maintain confidence in
the ability of the government to put down the re-
bellion than did the " Union League ". It was
composed of men of wealth and influence who con-
tributed freely of their own means, and who to the
end of the war stood like a fortress against all efforts
to weaken the hands of President Lincoln. As a
result, confidence returned and with it came success.

Re-election of Mr. Lincoln. — The summer of
1864 was an anxious time, for the contest was narrow-
ing. Grant had been placed in supreme command


George Bkinton McClellan


of the ballot.

1864] Re-electio:n^ of President Lincoln 437

and was tightening his grip upon Richmond, while

Sherman was advancing on
Atlanta. An effort was made
to defeat the re-election of
Mr. Lincoln by nominating
against him Gen. McClellan,
who had resigned from the

Like many other States,
Xew York demanded that
her soldiers in the field
should no longer be deprived
They were allowed to vote and not
only was Mr. Lincoln re-
elected, but Kew York chose
a " war governor ", Reubene
Fenton, a distinguished citi-
zen of Jamestown, who, ably
seconded by a loyal legisla-
ture, soon brought Xew York
again into line for the sup-
port of the national adminis-
tration and the vigorous pro-
secution of the war*. Dur-
ing this year a State "bureau of military statistics"
was formed, and the national guard organized.

*It is quite the custom to charge fraud to the
elections held in the army in 1864. It is a slander on
the men who defended the union. The soldiers be-
lieved in Abraham Lincoln. The writer witnessed
that election in camp, and believes that no elections
in these days have been more honestly conducted.

Eeubene Fenton, 1819-1885
Governor. 1865-68

438 End of the Civil War [Period X

In his first message to the legislature Governor Fen-
ton recommended the adoption of the 13th amend-
ment to the national constitution, and it was subse-
quently ratified by that body.

The conflict ended, 1865. — With the opening of
the new year men began to feel that the end of the
great struggle was not far away. The Mississippi ran
free to the gulf; Atlanta had fallen; Sherman was on
his march to the sea; and around Richmond Grant
was drawing his lines so close that all knew the capital
of the confederacy was doomed.

In April came the thrilling news flashed from army
to army, from city to city, and carried by swiftest ships
to every port in Europe, "Richmond has fallen!"
' ' Lee has surrendered ! " " Johnston has surrendered ' ' !

Men in the far away camps about Mobile Bay heard
it from confederates scarcely less glad than they.
New York's soldiers in the trenches, and behind log-
breast-works, and on the skirmish line received the
news according to their different temperaments. Some
wept, others threw down their guns, swung their
caps, and hurrahed till they were hoarse.

Death of Lincoln, April 15, 1865.— Hardly had
New York's soldiers come fully to realize that the war
was over, when the startling news came flying through
the camps that Lincoln had been assassinated. Loyal
men, remembering the hate that had through four long
years pursued the president, were overcome with the
feeling that this was the last resort of his enemies.
Thirsting for revenge, men deserted the camps and
frantic with grief and rage wandered about in squads,

1865] AssASSiN^ATiON OF Preside:n^t Li:n^coln 439

eager to find some one who would dare to justify the

It was at first reported that Lincoln, Grant, Seward,
and Stanton had all fallen. It seemed a conspiracy
for the overthrow of the government, and in all the
cities crowds gathered, and riots were imminent. In
New York an excited throng gathered about the sub-
treasury building on Wall street and the scenes of
1863 seemed about to be repeated. Suddenly, upon
the balcony appeared a man of commanding presence
and with bared head, beckoning to the swaying mass.
Faces of excited men looking for a leader were turned
toward him, and the roar of voices was for a moment
hushed, as they listened. It was James A. Garfield.
He chanced to be in the city and had been pushed
forward by others in the hope that he might say some-
thing to allay the excitement.

What he said must have been unpremeditated, but
in impassioned eloquence, it has rarely, if ever, been
equalled. It was only this, but, uttered in tones that
reached the very outskirts of the crowd, it stilled the
mob, and prevented a bloody riot: "Fellow citizens;
clouds and darkness are around Him. His pavilion is
dark waters and thick clouds. Justice and judgment
are the establishment of His throne. Mercy and truth
shall go before His face. Fellow citizens, God reigns,
and the government at Washington still lives."

That great throng heard, looked in each other's faces
and dispersed. The voice of a master had spoken.
For days the nation was paralyzed with grief. The
drama of a grand but pathetic life had closed in

440 Cost of the War to New York [Period X

tragedy, and the name of Abraham Lincoln had be-
come immortal.

Disbanding the armies. — Soon was witnessed the
great miracle of the war, — the mnstering out of a
million soldiers, and their quiet absorption into the
ranks of the people.

Xew York welcomed her returning regiments in
royal fashion, and soon "the
faded coat of army blue "came
to be a badge of honor over

/ -^^ ""flSS^BIA ^^^ ^^^ State.

I fl New York had furnished

"■^^*^'' '^ -"aB ^Qj, ^Yie war 473,443 men and

had disbursed 35 millions in

bounties, besides the cost of


Andrew Johnson. 1808-1875 Many of thcSC men UeVCr

President. 1865-69 returned, wMlc of those mus-

tered out thousands were disabled and could not
participate in the active pursuits of life. The loss
to the State in men is estimated as follows:

Killed in action 12,976

Died of wounds 7,235

Died of disease 27,855

Died in prison 5,736

Total loss .53,802

To this list must be added the large number who
reached home from the hospitals and prisons, but died
within a year, — estimated by the pension office to be
4,000. This brings the grand total of New York's
contribution of her sons up to 57,802. In money,

1865] Loyal Sons op Loyal Sires 441

New York had given $152,448,632 to assist in carrying
on the war*.


1. Union League club.

2. Xew York in second Lincoln campaign.

3. Soldiers' votes.

4. Closing year; the surrender; scenes.

5. Death of Lincoln; effect on soldiers.

6. Garfield in Wall street, 1865.

7. Eeturn of Xew York troops.

8. Losses.

* See " Xew York in the war of the Eebellion " ; also
" Honors of the Empire State in the War " by Thomas
S. Townsend.

Each of Xew York's four signers of the Declaration
of Independence was, in the civil war, represented by
a lineal descendant in the union army. General Wil-
liam Floyd by Captain John Gelston Floyd of the
145th Xew York; Lewis Morris by Colonel Lewis
0. Morris of the 7th heavy artillery, killed at Coal
Harbor; Francis Lewis by Lieutenant Manning Liv-
ingston of the regular army, killed at Gettysburg
(Lieutenant Livingston was a grandson of Robert R.
Livingston) ; Philip Livingston by Captain Stephen
Van Rensselaer Cruger, and also by Lieutenant Killian
Van Rensselaer of the 39th Xew York.




New York after the War

Recuperation. — The civil war had taxed the re-
sources of the State to their utmost, and its population
had decreased nearly 50,000. The recuperation was
marvellous. New industries were opened. Manu-
factories sprang up as by magic. That steadfast part
of her population which had never wavered in the
darkest hour of the rebellion plunged eagerly into
every industrial pursuit that presented itself. Rail-
roads were built, the canals were improved, and new
machinery was introduced into manufactures and
agriculture. Our merchant marine had been driven
from the seas by confederate cruisers, but new steamship
lines were opened and commerce revived. The school
fund was increased and the schools were made free.
Money was abundant and prices ranged high as a result
of the inflation of the currency. Shrewd financiers
then paid their debts and hoarded all surplus funds,
knowing they would soon be redeemed at par. Reckless
speculators plunged into debt, made purchases at infla-
tion prices, and in the inevitable shrinkage that fol-
lowed, were caught in the undertow of financial con-



The Fenian raid.— In 1866 an invasion of Canada
was planned in Xew York city by the Fenians— an
Irish-American organization. They shipped arms to
various points on the northern frontier where, appar-
ently, they expected them to be seized, while the real
attack was made on Fort Erie.

A force of 1,200 Fenians crossed the Niagara river,
June 1, and after a sharp fight with Canadian troops,
seized Fort Erie. They held the place one day and
then withdrew. They expected their countrymen to
rally to their support, but were disappointed. Two
of the prisoners taken were sentenced to death, but
were saved through the good offices of the United
States government.

State election.— In Xovember, 1866, Governor
Fenton was re-elected with little opposition.

The constitutional convention of 1867.— the
delegates to this convention, elected in 1866, met June
4, 1867, and adjourned Feb. 28, 1868. William A.
Wheeler, afterwards vice-president of the United
States, was chairman.

The constitution which this convention drafted was
rejected by the people, with the exception of one
article relating to the court of appeals. This provided
for a three years' commission of appeals, and gave the
legislature power to fix departments for the supreme
court. The State legislature in this year (1867)
adopted the 14th amendment to the constitution of
the United States.

General Grant elected president, John T. Hoff-
man governor, 1868.— Ex-Governor Seymour of

444 The Tweed RiinTG [Period XI

Xew York became the democratic candidate for the
presidency against General Grant. The memories of
-^"■^—'^ the war were still vivid, and

Grant had become the sol-
diers' idol. Mr. Seymour
\ suffered an overwhelming de-
.1 feat, but in the State the
I democratic candidate for
/ governor was elected by near-
ly 28,000 majority.

This striking fact led to
Ulysses simpso^grant, 1822-1885 scrious inquiry as to the con-
president, 1869-77 ^^q^ of elcctions in New

York city. Ex-Governor Seymour now retired to
private life. A natural student, he gave himself there-
after to the study of the history, topography, and re-
sources of the State.

The errors of his life, if they were errors, were in
the realm of politics. He undoubtedly failed to grasp
the new political questions that arose, and was too
honest to seek preferment by posing as an advocate
of measures which he did not approve. In private
life, few citizens of our State have been more univers-
ally loved. At his death, which occurred Feb. 12,
1886, men without distinction of political party united
in paying honor to his memory.

The Tweed ring.— During the years 1863-1871,
the city of New York, and to a great extent the State
as well, came under the control of a combination
known as the " Tweed ring ". Its chief was William
Marcy Tweed, a man of Scotch ancestry, who had
entered New York politics in 1850. By his shrewd

1869] The Fifteenth Amendment 445

but unscrupulous character he had advanced himself
to the position of grand sachem of the Tammany

Here by a careful selection of his lieutenants he soon
had the government of the
city in his hands. John T.
Hoffman, who had been may-
or, was promoted to the gov-
ernor's chair, and A. Oakey
Hall was made mayor of ^ew
York. In a few years this
" ring " had robbed the city
of enormous sums (estimated
joHNTHOMp.uMiuKKMAN. at20millions) and its debt
1828-1888: guvkk.nok, 1869-72 had bccn iucrcascd from 20
millions to more than 100 millions.

To tlie Xew York Times and to Samuel J. Tilden
the people of the city and State of Xew Y^ork owe a
debt of gratitude for the final overthrow of this com-
bination, which was accomplished in 1871.

Tweed, when confronted with the evidence of his
crimes, blandly inquired, "What are you going to do
about it?" and when asked what had become of the
money stolen responded, " Gone where the woodbine

A part of the gang fled the country, and a part
were imprisoned. Tweed was sent to prison but
escaped. He fled to France, was arrested there, was
returned to the United States, and died at last in
Ludlow street jail, in the city of Xew Y'ork.

Adoption of the loth amendment, 1869. — The

15th amendment to the national constitution was

446 Black Friday [Period XI

adopted in 1869 by a strict party vote of 17 to 15 in
the senate, and of 72 to 47 in the assembly, while Gover-
nor Hoffman indicated his attitude towards the meas-
ure by delaying to transmit to AVashington the required
notice of the action of the State, until called upon by
the assistant secretary of state to do so.

Black Friday. — During the civil war gold had ad-
vanced in value until, at one period, it reached 225,
when the paper promise of the nation to pay one dollar
was worth but twenty-five cents. All duties on im-
ports were payable in gold ; hence there was a legitimate
demand for that coin. As it fluctuated in value, a
gambling business was carried on over its prospective
rise or fall. On Friday, Sept. 24, 1869, gold stood at
162^^. The previous day it had been quoted at 143|-
and the advance was due to the efforts of "Jim"
Fisk, Jay Gould, and others, to "corner" the gold
market. These persons intended to force it up to 180,
while they held nearly all the gold in New York except
that in the sub-treasury, which was not for sale.

Merchants and importers who must have gold with
which to pay duties, were, at that price, face to face
with ruin, and the markets of the whole country went
wild. When the price reached 163^ Secretary Bout-
well telegraphed to the New York sub-treasury, " Sell
four millions gold." This broke the plans of the
gamblers, for gold instantly dropped to 133.

Gould and company were the owners of 60 millions
in gold which had cost them 96 millions in currency.
The panic which followed affected the whole country.
It lowered the price of produce on every farm in the
United States. It ruined many merchants, and de-


The State again Eepubltcan^


predated the price of our securities in all the ijiarkets
of Europe.

The legislature of 1870. — The government of the
State was now virtually in the hands of the Tweed
ring. One of the first acts of the legislature was the
adoption of a resolution withdrawing the assent of
the State to the ratification of the loth amendment to
the national constitution. The only effect of this

Online LibraryWilliam Reed PrenticeHistory of New York state (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 34)