The Union League Club was a republican organization that was formed in February 13 of 1863, mostly composed by affluent pro-union people who sought to increase patriotism. On July 13, 1863, just five months after the club’s foundation and only days after receiving word of the twin Union victories at Gettysburg and at Vicksburg, the New York Draft Riots exploded right in the club’s backyard. The Union League Club was high on the rioter’s list of targets, but members kept the rioters away by barricading themselves in their clubhouse on East 17th Street, just off Union Square Park. The Union Club members made a promise, that if they made it alive they would accelerate the incorporation of African-American troops to the front. The club decided to recruit, train and equip a Colored infantry regiment for Union service. The 20th U.S. Colored Infantry was formed on Riker’s Island in February 1864. The next month, it marched from the Union League Club, down Canal Street and over to the Hudson River piers to embark for duty in Louisiana. In spite of numerous threats, the members of the Union League Club marched with the men of the 20th, and saw them off. The Union League Club is still on its feet to this date.