of the General Government were withdrawn from its fortifications, leaving it defenseless against any attack from abroad or from riot within its limits, the provost-marshal commenced the draft without consulting with the authorities of the State or of the city.
The harsh measure of raising troops by compulsion has heretofore been avoided by this Government, and is now resorted to from the belief on its part that it is necessary for the support of our arms. I know you will agree with me that justice and prudence alike demand that this lottery for life shall be conducted with the utmost fairness and openness, so that all may know that it is impartial and equal in it operations. It is the right of every citizen to be assured that in all public transactions there is strict impartiality. In a matter so deeply affecting the persons and happiness of our people this is called for by every consideration. I am happy to say that in many of the districts in this state the enrolled lists were publicly exhibited, the names were placed in the wheels from which they were to be drawn in the presence of men of different parties and f known integrity, and the drawings were conducted in a manner to avoid suspicion of wrong. As the enrollments are made in many instances by persons unknown to the public, who are affected but their actions and who have no voice in their selection, care should be taken to prove the correctness of every step. Unfortunately this was not done in the district of New York where the drawing commenced. The excitement caused by this unexpected draft led to an unjustifiable attack upon the enrolling officers, which ultimately grew into the most destructive riot known in the history of our country.
Disregard for law and the disrespect for judicial tribunals produced their natural results of roberry and arson, accompanied by murderous outrages upon a helpless race; and for a time the very existence of the commercial metropolis of our country was threatened. In the sad and humiliating history of this event it is gratifying that the citizens of New York, without material aid from the State or Nation, were able, of themselves, to put down this dangerous insurrelue of the services rendered by the military of naval officers of the General Government who were stationed in that city; for the public are under great and lasting obligations to them for their courage, their skill, and their wise and prudent counsels. But they had at their command only a handful of government troops, who alone were entirely unequal to the duty of defending the vast amount of national property which was endangered. The rioters were subdued by the exertions of the city officials, civil and military, the people, the police, and a small body of only 1,200 men, composed equally of the State and national forces, when availed themselves of the able advice and direction of the distinguished military men to whom I have alluded. It gives a gratifying assurance of the ability of the greatest city of our continent to maintain order in its midst, under circumstances do disadvantageous, against an uprising os unexpected and having its origin in questions deeply exciting to the minds of the great masses of its population. The return from the war of some of the New York militia regiments restored peace and security to the city. I ordered troops from different parts of our State, but I could to get them to the city before the riot was quelled. Neither could the General Government give any substantial aid. It could not even man its own forts, nor had it the means to protect its own arsenals and navy-yards against any of the vessels which at that time were engaged in burning the ships of our merchants almost within sight of our coast. For a