1862 November 19: Draft Riot in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
Following is an article on a draft riot in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, and the governor’s proclamation regarding the same. They come from The Prescott Journal of November 19, 1862.
Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan, Brown, Fond du Lac, and Milwaukee counties—all with large German populations—did not meet their quotas of new recruits under the call of August 4, 1862, so the governor of Wisconsin ordered a draft, which was set to take place on November 10, 1862. The riot in Port Washington (Ozaukee County) required Wisconsin Governor Edward Salomon to send six companies of the 28th Wisconsin Infantry; they arrested 150 rioters and allowed Commissioner Pors to finish the draft.
Of the 4,537 men drafted in the state, 1,662 failed to report for duty, 988 were discharged, 19 deserted from camp, 129 were furloughed; only 1,739 actually became soldiers.
Draft Riot in Ozaukee Co.
The draft trouble is more serious in Ozaukee county than first reported. At Port Washington the rioters picketed the town, and an assault was made upon commissioner Pors,¹ to which we allude elsewhere.
They tore down his house and stole his money. The[y] also tore down Tomlinson’s mill. Judge Downs had his leg broken.
They also broke into the Masonic Lodge and cleaned that out, having an old spite against it. At 3 o’clock this morning the crowd was increasing, and they avow that they will not be drafted.
Last night, the Provost Marshal, General of the State, W. D. Mclndoo,² arrived in the city; 600 infantry, being a part of the 28th regiment, were furnished with forty rounds of cartridges each, and accompanied by the Provost Marshal and Lieut. Col. Whittaker, departed on the boat for the scene or disturbance.—Hon. W. H. Ramsey, the State Bank Comptroller, whose residence is at Port Washington, accompanied the party.
It was reported yesterday that the insurgents had planted cannon upon the pier at Port Washington anticipating the arrival of soldiery. In view of this fact, the Provost Marshal with the infantry would land at Port Ulen, this side of Port Washington, and enter the town in the rear before light this morning.—Wisconsin.
To the people of Ozaukee County:
Information has reached me of disgraceful and violent disturbance of the public peace and forcible resistance to the draft, accompanied with personal violence to the Commissioner for drafting, and other persons, and destruction of private and public property in your county. I have taken steps to have the perpetrators and abettors of these crimes promptly arrested. They, as well as every person interfering with or resiting the draft, will be arrested and punished according to the Proclamation of the President of the United States, of September 25th 1862.
It is one of the inherent and necessary powers of every government to call upon its citizens, or subjects, to take up arms for its defense. This power exists, beyond question, in the Government of the United States. An act of Congress has authorized the President to call out the militia, and the draft ordered in this State, as in all other loyal States, is made in pursuance of that act of Congress. Resistance by you to the government of the United States, or of this State, is both wrong and in vain, and can only lead to calamity. The Draft will be executed in your county as well as in every other county in the State, were it has been ordered.
I have sent a sufficient military power into your county under command of the special Provost Marshal of the United States, for such and other purposes in order to arrest those who are guilty of the recent violent resistance to the draft and to see that the draft is properly enforced in your county, and I now call on you to make no further resistance to the lawfully constituted authorities, but to submit to the laws of the country.
Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State, at Madison, this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two.
[L., S.] EDWARD SALOMON, Gov.
Jas. T. Lewis,³ Sec’y of State.
1. William A. Pors.
2. Walter Duncan McIndoe (1819-1872) had moved to Wausau, Wisconsin, in 1847, where he became co-partner in a lumber-milling business. He was a state assemblyman for many years and in December, 1862, he will be elected to the U.S. Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Luther Hanchett. (Dictionary of Wisconsin History)
3. James Taylor Lewis (1819-1904) was elected Wisconsin’s secretary of state in 1861 and in 1863 will be elected governor. As governor, he “was an ardent supporter of President Lincoln, and faithfully supplied his state’s quota of soldiers for the army. He made numerous trips to army hospitals and camps, and secured a special order to transfer Wisconsin’s sick and wounded soldiers home. Lewis was also instrumental in founding homes for both soldiers and soldiers’ orphans.” (Dictionary of Wisconsin History)