Armed rioters clashing with Union Army soldiers. The New York City draft riots (July 13-16, 1863) were violent disturbances in Lower Manhattan, motivated by discontent with laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in American Civil War. The riots remain the largest civil and racially-charged insurrection in American history. The protests turned into a race riot, with white rioters, predominantly Irish immigrants, attacking black people throughout the city. The official death toll was listed at 120 individuals. The military did not reach the city until the second day of rioting, by which time the mobs had ransacked or destroyed numerous public buildings, two Protestant churches, the homes of various abolitionists or sympathizers, many black homes, and the Colored Orphan Asylum at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, which was burned to the ground. Eleven black men were hanged over five days. The most reliable estimates indicate at least 2,000 people were injured. The Illustrated London news, 1863.