Riots break out in Va.
Dire food shortages triggered violent bread riots in Richmond, Va., capital of the Confederacy, 150 years ago during the Civil War.
The rioting on April 2, 1863, began when hundreds of women demanding emergency provisions became the flashpoint for a mob protest that surged across the city’s business district. Many shattered windows and looted stores.
The New York Times quoted a newly released Union prisoner in a dispatch April 8, 1863, as saying he witnessed the upheaval through the window of a prison where he had been held in Richmond. The former POW said he saw a crowd that swelled to hundreds – several armed with clubs, guns and stones.
The account quoted the witness as saying: They broke open the Government stores and took bread, clothing and whatever else they wanted.