On this day, June 13, in 1863, opponents of conscription began the New York draft riots, regarded as one of most violent civil disorder events in U.S. history.
The rioters were largely poor, working-class Irish immigrants who were angry about being drafted to Þght in the Civil War while wealthier men were allowed to pay $300 to avoid serving in the war against the Confederate South.
Hours after the names of the draftees were posted, mobs began to take to the street. The protests turned ugly, and over the next three days, bloody street battles raged across the city.
The estimated number of people killed is around 120. The riots formed a backdrop for the movie "Gangs of New York," inspired by the Herbert Asbury's 1928 true crime book.
-- Scott McCabe