War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0633 Chapter XXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

place where a fire would be likely to reappear. The officer did not know the position of Captain Hibbert and did not regard the order as official or the suggestions as important. The lieutenant-colonel, who had previous charge of the fire, also told him that he had taken a guard from the roof and that it was very essential it should be replaced. This statement the officer in command does not recollect. The lieutenant who had charge of one of the engines in delivering it over to the new officer informed him that particular attention "should be given to the landings, the facings, and thereof, and that much more good would be effected by work with the shovel and the ax than by water." This advice also is not remembered as having been given and therefore was not heeded.

We are inclined to think that the failure to comprehend and act upon these necessary orders was more a misfortune than a fault; that the officer acted in accordance with his ability and judgment, which were deficient. He had the engines at work four times between 12 and 4 o'clock, which shows, if not discretion, at least zeal. But we are forced to state that we consider the number of guards in the building as insufficient and the want of guards upon the roof and want of inspection under it as the reason why the fire obtained such headway as to make it impossible to be subdued.

We would state that Mr. Charrotte informed us that the State-house had been fired once before, some three or four years since, from the same flue. This happened on the evening on which the Legislature opened its session, and his view as to the origin of the fire coincides with this report. It was the opinion of exports that the roof should have been regularly guarded and frequently visited, and that by cutting away and precautions of that nature 25 men with knowledge of their duties would have prevented the second disaster.

The board then submit as the result of their investigations of the case assigned them that the undoubted origin of the fire was a defect in the flue; that the conduct and activity of those who assisted in putting out the fire was under the circumstances both efficient and commendable; that the second outbreak was caused by the rafters in the roof of the main building and the unburnt portion being unfortunately in charge of persons who were wholly inexperienced in the duties imposed upon the and wholly ignorant as to the points of danger and the best means of managing affairs of this kind. The final destruction of the interior of the building was complete.

GILBERT A. DRAPER,

Lieutenant-Colonel One hundred and fifty-ninth N. Y. Vols.

WM. J. DENSLOW,

Captain Sixth Regiment Infantry New York Volunteers.

JNO. L. SWIFT,

Captain Forty-first Massachusetts Volunteers.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,

January 3, 1863-3.30 p.m.

Captain C. HUGGINS,

On board Pampero, Southwest Pass:

Stop everything going to Galveston.

Please acknowledge.

RICH'D B. IRWIN,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Assistant Adjutant-General.