An 1863 assassination attempt on a US Army commander near Pottsville

Wynning History

In the summer of 1863, tensions were running high in Schuylkill County. With the Federal government drafting men into the US Army and an armed military occupation taking place in the Coal Region, the situation was perilous. And amid this dangerous moment, someone attempted to assassinate the US Army officer in command at Pottsville.

The Federal government had begun drafting men into the service of the US Army in July 1863 and stoked tremendous controversy in that act. A major outbreak of violence in response to the draft had taken place in New York City in mid-July, leaving more than 100 people dead and parts of that city in rubble. Other than New York City, the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania continued to present the staunchest opposition to the government’s war effort.

No Draft An illustration of mobs in New York City against the draft in July 1863.

This initially came in…

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