War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0632 W.FLA., S.ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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to the most exposed position (for every visitor went upon the roof for the view), and where to kindle a fire would have been difficult if not unsuccessful.

These circumstances combined compel us to state that the cause of the fire was the foulness and probable unsound condition of the chimney.

The suppression of the fire. - The work of putting out the fire was done by the United States forces with some help from the citizens of the town. The engines were principally manned by the soldiers and the labor was directed by the commissioned officers. Owing to the want of familiarity with the location and character of the engines and the condition of the hose, &c., there may have been some little delay in getting water upon the flames. Indeed the fire had got so far under way when the engines were brought into action that it was useless to attempt to save any but the main building. All that energy and toil and judgment could do it is clear by all the testimony, was done. The commanding general and his staff gave their personal attention to the discipline and diligence of the work. Officers of every rank rendered aid and assistance. The management was under the superintendence of a lieutenant-colonel of one of the New York regiments, who had experience in such matters, and the statement of Mr. Charrotte, a resident of the city of Baton Rouge and an editor of a newspaper inthe place, himself a foreman of one of the engines used at the fire, would seem conclusive on this point. Mr. Charrotte says:

He was present soon after the fire broke out. The men behaved very well; saw no signs of intoxication or demoralization. Officers and men seemed to have but one object-the suppression of the fire. Every available means were used, and all that could be done was done to accomplish this end. Between 10 and 11 o'clock the fire was under subjection and the main building was considered safe.

The burning of the main building. - A force of 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 9 non-commissioned officers and 100 men were detailed to watch the saved portion of the building after the fire was pronounced effectually suppressed. The instructions given to the officer was to take the building when the fire was out and use his best judgment to insure its safety.

Between 11 and 12 o'clock this force took possession. The commander divided his force equally, keeping one-half for sentinel duty and the other to work the engines in case of need. He placed 8 men inside the building, the same number outside. He had no guard upon the roof, and did not himself visit the roof or examine above the third floor of the building.

A little before 4 o'clock the fire broke out in the ceiling, and was under such headway that it was impossible to control it. There is no doubt in the mind of the board, and it is the opinion of experts, that the fire was communicated by the rafters, and must have been some time in operation before its discovery. It is also clear that a guard upon the roof would in all probability have prevented a recommencement of the fire or an examination of the locality above the third floor would have discovered it in time to have checked its progress. Both by a strange oversight as well as lamentable misunderstanding of orders the most likely spot for a recurrence of the fire was left entirely unguarded. The person having command says he was unacquainted with the work assigned to him, having had no experience in the business, but we fail to account for the want of attention to the orders and suggestion given him. The commanding officer was told by the assistant adjutant-general that a special watch over the roof was necessary, and that this was the