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The New York Draft Riots of 1863 began when angry laborers protested the draft by destroying Black neighborhoods, recruiting offices, and churches, and killing 105 people. Regulation allowed for draftees to buy their way out of the draft for $300, but for low-income laborers the price was too steep and could literally mean the difference between living or dying. Witnesses to the riots, identified only as J.H.W. and Bart del, sketched these scenes from around town in a sketchbook now housed at the New York Historical Society.