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The Conscription in New York

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1309, p. 318.

April 8, 1865


Our New York correspondent, by whom we are supplied with the Illustration on our front page, writes as follows:--"On Wednesday, the 15th of March, the long-expected draught was put into operation in this city. For a day or two previously it had been very generally stated in the newspapers that this most disagreeable 'military necessity' had been indefinitely postponed; but volunteering has been far too slack of late to give the slightest hope that, without conscription, New York could furnish the twenty-six thousand men due from her to the Federal armies. Coming thus unexpectedly, the announcement that the draught was actually going on caused a good deal of consternation in the city. While I write, the fatal 'wheel' is turning, and the names are being drawn at the offices of the several provost marshals. These places are thronged all day long with anxious crowds. Irish faces are very prevalent in the crowd. There is no disturbance; but, as a precautionary measure, the draughting-stations are everywhere guarded by a strong force of police. I send a sketch of the interior of one of these places, with the wheel at work. The blindfolded man draws a slip of paper from the wheel and hands it to an official on the platform below him, who reads aloud the name and address written upon it, and then passes it to another person, who transfers it to the table where the registering clerks are at work. Jokes are very freely circulated in the crowd at the expense of the luckless individuals whose names are read from the slips, and it sometimes happens that the most reckless of the jokers finds himself next on the list of the conscripts. Lists of the names drawn are published in all the morning papers, which are eagerly scanned by anxious-looking people of all classes and callings in life. Several prominent citizens already figure in the lists--among others, Mr. H. J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times."

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