Collection: Great Riots of New York

Closing Scenes

This week of horrors a week unparalleled in the history of New York was drawing to a close. It had been one of terror and dismay to the inhabitants, who thought only of the immediate effects on themselves of the triumph of the mob. A great city laid in ashes, given, up to robbers and cut throats, is at any time a terrible spectacle; but New York in ruins at this time was a republic gone a nation, uncrowned and left desolate; but the battle, both for the nation and city, had been nobly fought and won; and Friday, the

Colored Victims of the Riots

The following were colored victims of the 1863 draft riots. William Henry Nichols (colored). Nichols resided at No. 147 East Twenty-eighth Street. Mrs. Staat, his mother, was visiting him. On Wednesday, July 15th, at 3 o’clock, the house was attacked by a mob with showers of bricks and stones. In one of the rooms was a woman with a child but three days old. The rioters broke open the door with axes and rushed in. Nichols and his mother fled to the basement; in a few moments the babe referred to was dashed by the rioters from the upper window

Commencement of the Mob

Meanwhile, events were assuming an alarming aspect in the western part of the city. Early in the morning men began to assemble here in separate groups, as if in accordance with a previous arrangement, and at last moved quietly north along the various avenues. Women, also, like camp followers, took the same direction in crowds. They were thus divided into separate gangs, apparently to take each avenue in their progress, and make a clean sweep. The factories and workshops were visited, and the men compelled to knock off work and join them, while the proprietors were threatened with the destruction

Abolition Riots of 1834-1835

Most of the riots of New York have grown out of causes more or less local, and wholly transient in their nature. Hence, the object sought to be obtained was at once secured, or abandoned altogether. But those arising from the formation of Abolition societies, and the discussion of the doctrine of immediate emancipation, were of a different character, and confined to no locality or time. The spirit that produced them developed itself in every section of the country, and the question continued to assume vaster proportions, till the Union itself was involved, and what was first only a conflict

Astor Place Riots, 1849

Probably there never was a great and bloody riot, moving a mighty city to its profoundest depths, that originated in so absurd, insignificant a cause as the Astor-place riot. A personal quarrel between two men growing out of professional jealousy, neither of whom had any hold on the affections of the people, were able to create a tumult, that ended only by strewing the street with the dead and wounded. Mr. Forrest, it is true, had a certain professional popularity, but nothing to awaken a personal enthusiasm for him. Viewing the matter in this light, some have thought, there was

Soldiers Beaten by the Mob

In the meantime, the mob that stood watching the spreading conflagration in Third Avenue increased rapidly, fed by tributaries from the tenement houses, slums, and workshops in that vicinity. But they were soon startled from their state of comparative quietness, by the cry of “the soldiers are coming.” The Invalid Corps, a small body sent from the Park, was approaching. As it came up, the soldiers fired, either blank cartridges, or over the heads of the crowd, doubtless thinking a single discharge would disperse it. The folly of such a course was instantly shown, for the mob, roused into sudden

Draft Riots Map

Great Riots of New York 1712-1873

A History of all the Great Riots of New York from 1712 to 1873. Includes histories of the Black Riots, Draft Riots, Flour Riot, Stamp-Act Riot, Abolition Riots, Dead Rabbits’ Riot, Astor Place Riots, Spring Election Riots, Doctors’ Riot, and the Orange Riots.