New Yorkers and the War: 1863

July 25, 1863

July 25th, 1863

Filed under: Richmond,South — by Maria Lydig Daly @ 2:05 am

Went last evening to see Uncle John, and met Mr. Turner on our walk home. He had just returned from Nassau where he went to meet his brother-in-law. We learned much from him. The Richmond people were averse to the war – tired to death of it. Everyone was ruined, but each individual was afraid to act because of the army. Mr. Turner did not think if Charleston was taken that it would be possible for the rebels to hould out any longer. Twenty million dollars’ worth of goods (contraband of war) had been sent from Nassau, where there was not a man who was not engaged in the trade. Mr. Turner is from Richmond…


July 23, 1863

July 23th, 1863

Filed under: Religion,Riot — by Maria Lydig Daly @ 2:04 am

At last the riot is quelleced, but we had four days of great anxiety. FIghting went on constantly in the streets between the military and police and the mob, which was partially armed. The greatest atrocities have been perpetrated. Colonel O’Brian was murdered by the mob in such a brutal manner that nothing in the French Revolution exceeded it. Three or four Negroes were hung and burned; the women assisted and acted like furies by stimulating the men to greater ferocity. Father came into the city on Friday, being warned about his house, and found fifteen Negroes secreted in it by Rachel. They came from York Street, which the mob had attacked, with all their goods and chattels. Father had to order them out. We feared our own block on account of the Negro tenements below MacDougal Street, where the Negroes were on the roof, singing psalms and having firearms.

One night, seeing a fire before the house, I thought the time had come, but it proved to be only a bonfire. The Judge sallied out with his pistolm telling me that if he were not at home in five minutes to call up the servants. This mob seems to have a curious sense of justice. They attacked and destroyed many disreputable houses and did not always spare secessionists. On Saturday (the fifth day) we went up to see Judge Hilton, who thought me very courageous, but I felt sorry for Mrs. Hilton upon hearing that she had been so terribly frightened. She gave me such details that I came home too nervous to sleep. In Lexington Avenue, houses were destroyed. One lady before whose house the mob paused with the intention of sacking it, saved her house by raising her window, smiling, and waving her handkerchief. Mr. Bosie’s brother was seized by a rioter who asked him if he had $300.

“No,” said he.

“Then come along with us,” said the rioter, and they kept him two hours. Mrs. Hilton said she never saw such creatures, such gaunt-looking savage men and women and even little children armed with brickbats, stones, pokers, shovels and tongs, coal-scuttles, and even tin pans and bits of iron. They passed her house about four o’clock on Monday morning and continued on in a constant stream until nine o’clock. They looked to her, she said, like Germans, and her first thought was that it was some German festival. Whilst we sat there, we heard occasional pistol shots, and I was very glad that I had ordered a carriage to take us home. The carriage, it seems, was very unwillingly sent since the livery-stable keeper was so much afraid.

Every evening the Judge would go out near eleven o’clock to my great distress. But he threatened to send me into the country If I objected (which I dreaded still more), so I kept quiet. James Leonard, the Superintendent of Police in our neighborhood, said the draft could not be enforced; the firemen are against it, as well as all the working classes.

Among those killed or wounded have been found men with delicate hands and feet, and under their outward laborers’clothes were fine cambric shirts and costly underclothing. A dressmakes says she saw from her window a gentleman whom she knows and has seen with young ladies, but whose name she could not remember, disguised in this way in the mob on Sixth Avenue.

On Sunway we went to see Mrs. Nathaniel Jarvis and Mr. James T. Brady, who had just arrived from Washington. I saw Susanna Brady, who talked in the most villent manner against the Irish and in favor of the blacks. I feel quite differently, altough very sorry and much outraged at the cruelties inflicted. I hope it will give the Negroes a lesson, for since the war commenced, they have been so insolent as to be unbearable. I cannot endure free blacks. They are immoral, with all their piety.

The principal actors in this mob were boys, and I think they were Americans. Catherine, my seamstress, telles me that the plundering was done by the people in the neighborhood who were looking on and who, as the mob broke the houses open, went in to steal. The police this morning found beds, bedding, and furniture in the house of a Scotch Presbyterian who was well off and owned two cows and two horses. The Catholic priests have done their duty as Christian ministers in denouncing these riotous proceedings. One of them remonstrated with a woman in the crowd who wanted to cut off the ears of a Negro who was hung. The priest told her that Negroes had souls. “Sure, your reverence,” said she, “I thought they only had gizzards.”

On Sunday evening, Mr. Dykes came in. He had seen Judge Pierrepont, who had gone to Washington with others to see what can be done. Mr. Dykes thinks that New York, being a Democratic city, may expect little indulgence from the Administration. The Judge went up to see General Dix, now in command here, who says that the government is determined to carry the draft measure through at all costs. Yesterday we went to the wedding of Lydia Watson in Westchester County. Mr. James Adie told the Judge that there was a secessionist plot to burn all the houses in the neighborhood on Thursday night, that he had heard that his had been exempted by vote, and that the principal instigator and mover in it was one of the richest and most influential men in the neighborhood. The purpose of the plot was to intimidate the government and prevent conscription. Mrs. Harry Morris, who I hear has been very violent in her invectives against the North, wished to know if the soldiers could be relied upon. I told her entirely so, that they declared they would rather fight these traitos at home who made this fine in their real whilst they were risking their life to preserve order and the laws than the rebels. For her comfort, I told that the mob had destroyed the houses of secessionsist. I frightened her, I think, not a little.

July 14, 1863

July 14th, 1863

Filed under: Frank Leslie,Mrs. Lincoln,Riot — by Maria Lydig Daly @ 10:36 pm

The draft began on Saturday, the twelfth, very foolishly ordered by the government, who supposed that these Union victories would make the people willing to submit. By giving them Sunday to think it over, by Monday morning there were large crowds assembled to resist the draft. All day yesterday there were dreadful scenes enacted in the city. The police were succesfully opposed; many were killed, many houses were gutted and burned: the colored asylum was burned and all the furniture was carried off by women: Negroes were hung in the streets! All last night the fire-bells rang, but at last, in God’s good mercy, the rain came down in torrents and scattered the crowds, giving the city authorities time to organize. Today bodies of police and military patrolled the city to prevent any assembly of rioters. A Virginian, last evening, harangued the crowd. Fearful that they might attack a Negro tenement house some blocks below us, as they had attacked others, I ordered the doors to be shut and no gas to be lighted in front of the house. I was afraid people would come to visit Judge Daly, ask questions, etc. I did not wonder at the spirit in which the poor resented the three-hundred-dollar clause.

The news from the army is most encouraging. It is thought that Lee will not be able to escape. It would seem as though this war might now be brought to an end, but this news of the riots here will give the rebels encouragement. The principal cause of discontent was the provision that by paying three hundred dollars any man could avoid serving if drafted, thus obliging all who could not beg, borrow or steal this sum to go to the war. This is exceedingly unjust. The laboring classes say that they are sold for three hundred dollars, whilst they pay one thousand dollars for Negroes.

Things seem quiet this morning. People are returning to their homes, though the tops of the stages are crowded with workingmen and boys.

Mr. Leslie at Long Branch told me that he was in disgrace with Mrs. Lincoln for having published in his paper a likeness of her taken at Springfield by a skillful photographerist sent there for the purpose just after Lincoln’s election. At the time she was entirely satisfied with the likeness, but after she had been dressed by city mantua-makers and milliners, she considered it a libel. It was certainly the likeness of a very common looking country body, whilst now she looks like a vulgar, shoddy, contractor’s wife who does not know what to do with her money. Mr. Leslie likewise told me that the clerk at Tiffany and Young’s had told him that their present largest buyers were the common people, that a common-looking woman came into the store a few weeks since and asked for diamons. She picked out a necklace, earrings, brooch, and bracelet and ordered them sent to her house. The clerk did not like to do so and asked her name (which he did not know). Then he said that it was against the rules of the store to send things out of such value without payment.

“Oh, my old man will pay for them,” said she.

“Then,” said the cler, “will you write something to that effect?”

“Write what you please; I will sign it,” said she, and she made a cross. “He’ll know that.”…

I was told that the Admiral du Pont’s share of the prize money is $200,000. It is thought that he is in no haste to take Charleston.

July 12, 1863

July 12th, 1863

Filed under: Battle,Frank Leslie,Gettysburg,Kentucky,Lincoln,Mrs. Lincoln,Religion,Vicksburg — by Maria Lydig Daly @ 7:52 pm

Much has occured since I opened this book last. Hooker has been displaced, and General Meade has led the Army of the Potomac to victory, driving Lee back to the Potomac where they are now probably fighting the decisive the decisive battle of this war. Vicksburg was at last surrendered on the fourth, on which day Meade likewise defeated Lee, so that there has never been a Fourth of July kept before so grandly by the nation. God feems to have at least sent us a leader. Genereal Meade is a native of Spain, but his parents were Americans. Now if Lincoln had but the sense to publish a general amnesty and annul his emancipation act, we might once more be a united nation, for we have great reason to be proud of the courage and talext exhibited on both sides. This last battle has never been surpassed by any in history. The North and South will now have learned to respect each other.

We met some Kentuckians at Long Branch. One of them knew Mrs. Lincoln intimately when a girl. He quoted the Spanish proverb, “Set a beggar on horseback and he will ride to the devil,” when I asked him what he thought of her. Old Mr. Sayre was a fine specimen of a Kentuckian. He invited us to his house and any of our friends we chose to send. They were both strong Union men and talked more justly and moderately than anyone except the Judge that I have met. “We must keep the country together,” said old Mr. Sayre, “whatever it may cost.” The old man has no children, but has raised and educated wenty, I believe. He has lost $300,000 in this war, but is willing, he says, to lose as much more to keep the nation entire.

I am so happy to be home again. The Judge’s public position exposes him to so much company. I enjoy the solitude and silence of my own home. I was so tired of the common crowds; they even troubled me on the seashore with their vulgar show and noise. Frank Leslie we found a very gentlemanly, agreeable man. He was at teh Branch; likewise, Dr. and Mrs. Hutton, the Dutch Reformed clergyman, with both of whom we had much doctrinal discussion. Though very excellent people, their doctrine makes them necessarily narrowminded. They could not argue with either of us as we began from different premises.

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