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1ST Minnesota & 20th Maine

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St. Patrick's Day,
March 17, 1863

Company K Roster
1861-1864

User's Guide

The greatest urban riot in American history occurred shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg. Historians call it the New York City Draft Riot- it was essentially a race riot.   White working class men resisted cooperating with the draft because they did not support the new war objective to free the slaves. Many of them feared they would have to compete with former slaves for work.  They were supported in this belief by Democratic Party politicians.  As the riot developed in intensity, local officials requested federal assistance.  A number of regiments which had participated in the Battle of Gettysburg, including the 1st Minnesota, were transferred to Brooklyn and Manhattan to enforce the draft law if needed. By the time the First Regiment arrived, the crisis was over.   The regiment remained in Brooklyn from the 22nd of August to September 6 and enjoyed the many opportunities the city offered for rest and recreation. 

A woman who had observed the First Minnesota when it left Fort Snelling in June, 1861and now saw them on parade in Brooklyn wrote in a letter published in the St. Paul Press, "Yesterday I went over with Mr. H. and paid the Minnesotians a cisit.   I happened to reach the ground just as the bugle call was sounding for the evening parade.  Capt. Coates was in command.  No company numbered more than twenty men, and one mustered only five.  The regiment counts up to 230, but some of them are on duty in Washington, where the draft is now going on.
     As I saw this little fragment of the once splendid Minnesota First march by me, carrying their stained and tattered flag, scarcely a shred of which is left, except the design close by the staff, and take their places in line of battle just as they stood on that bright morning more than two years ago at Fort Snelling, when so many of us were there and heard General Gorman's last directions and Mr. Neill's prayer previous to their breaking camp and embarking for the war, and their glorious destiny, I absolutely shivered with emotion.  There the brave fellows stood, a grand shadow of the regiment which Fort Snelling knew.  Their bronzed faces looked so composed and serious.  There was a history written on every one of them. I never felt so much like falling down and doing reverence to any living men. The music of the band, as the men went steadily through the changes of the drill was very sweet, but it seemed to me all the while like a dirge for the fallen."

St Paul Press, 9 September 1863

Peter Quinn's, Banished Children of Eve (New York: Viking, 1994) is an excellent novel of the draft riot era.