This Week in the Civil War - 630

Aug 7, 2013

Despite the destructive New York City draft riots of the prior month, President Abraham Lincoln on Friday, August 7, 1863 wrote New York State Democratic Governor Horatio Seymour to carefully explain why he would not suspend the draft in New York, explaining “My purpose is to be, in my action, just and constitutional; and yet practical, in performing the important duty, with which I am charged, of maintaining the unity, and the free principles of our common country.” 

During the July riots, Governor Seymour had initially attempted to conciliate the rioters by requesting a suspension of the draft law.  Lincoln could not politically or practically suspend the draft; the successful prosecution of the Northern war effort depended both on volunteerism and conscription to fuel the size of the Union armies.