1863: New York City, Draft Riot – Day Four

James Costello (colored). James Costello, No. 97 West Thirty-third Street, killed on Tuesday morning, July 14th. Costello was a shoemaker, an active man in his business, industrious and sober. He went out early in the morning upon an errand, was accosted, and finally was pursued by a powerful man. He ran down the street; endeavored to make his escape; was nearly overtaken by his pursuer; in self defense he turned and shot the rioter with a revolver. The shot proved to be mortal; he died two days after. Costello was immediately set upon by the mob. They first mangled his body, then hanged it. They then cut down his body and dragged it through the gutters, smashing it with stones, and finally burnt it. The mob then attempted to kill Mrs. Costello and her children, but she escaped by climbing fences and taking refuge in a police station house.


  1. Is that the immigrant riot as a result of the Civil War?

    You know I was completely ignorant of those riots until I saw the movie Gangs of New York? Although the riot scenes were at the end of the movie, once I saw them I hated the rest of the movie and have never had anythign good about it. How are they going to make a movie about heroic immigrants how also raped and killed black people for no reason at all?

  2. Correct. These folks, largely immigrants of Irish descent, had a reason. The reason they attacked Black folk was because they could. You’ll note that they struggled for centuries (and still do) with the vicious overlordship of the British.

    The easiest way to piss off just about everyone in an Irish Pub is to start talking about how England bestowed all these great gifts on the US. Or you could just bust out with a little “God Save the Queen.”

    With that said, the Irish also conspired with Black folk as far back as 1741 to knock all EVERYBODY in Manhattan. It was very serious back in the day. Times have changed. The Irish (U2, Notre Dame football pre-Charlie Weis, and House of Pain, notwithstanding) seem to believe that we are the source of their problem.

    The Irish made a Faustian deal with the Americans. They decided to forego the rabble rousing and nationalism that might have made America a different place in exchange for a release from the British. I don’t know how explicit the deal was — but the Irish eventually took over the keys to the kingdom (police forces) and eschewed an Alliance of the Oppressed with Blacks and Indians. The economics and many other factors would have made a sustainable alliance very difficult — but you can imagine the pure hell that an alliance of indigenous people, Black folk and alienated white folk would have brought down on the Brits.

    There would not have been much need for a George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

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