Riotous Outbreak in New York

New York, July 20th, 1863      Dear Friend Garrison: In this city, during the past week, has been the reign of terror. As I am, now, a permanent resident in New York, I beg leave to relate a few of the leading acts of violence, robbery, incendiarism and bloodshed, some of which took place under my own observation…..

          Among the most cruel and barbarous acts of the mob was the slaughter of colored people. In the evening, on Clarkson street, I saw a poor negro hanging by the neck on a tree. He was entirely naked, and a slow fire burning under him! His feet were partially roasted; his body scorched in several places, and lifeless! A crowd of people, – men, women and children, — were looking on; rude boys were poking the poor corpse with sticks; while others of the crowd were making derision of their victim. 

         A day or two afterwards, the mob hung another colored man on a tree, in Thirty-second street, not far from my office. It took place about six o’clock.A M. Soon after it occurred , I ventured to go near the place of the horrible scene, and saw a most loathsome looking crowd, jeering at the mangled corpse of a though they had done a worthy deed. They appeared more like demons than human beings. Any man’s life wold have been in danger, had he interfered. A rough looking man stepped forward, with knife in hand, and went to cutting open all the pockets of the dead body, to ascertain what he could find. 

        There were no policemen, nor soldiers, on the ground. At last, the military came rushing along; some mounted on horses, with waving swords; soldiers with glistening bayonets; and artillery, with brass cannon. The cavalry with their swords cut down the dead body. It fell into the gutter: they left it lying there. The artillery soon fired their cannon, and raked the streets of the mob. …………….. 

        All abolitionists and leading Republicans were in danger. Horace Greeley was called for by some of the mob. They said they wanted to hang him up by the side of the negro; and why they did not murder him as he passed up and down regularly to his dinners and lodgings, is a miracle. ………Signed Noyes Wheeler. 

                                                                                    (Liberator, July 24, `1863, pg 2)