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1 At 10:30 A. M. on the 25th.
No sooner had the Federal fleet turned the point, and come within sight of the city, than the work of destruction of property commenced. Vast columns of smoke ascended to the sky, darkening the face of heaven and obscuring the noon-day sun; for five miles along the levee, fierce flames darted through the lurid atmosphere, their baleful glare struggling in rivalry with the sunlight; great ships and steamers, wrapped in fire, floated down the river, threatening the Federal vessels with destruction by their fiery contact. In front of the various presses, and at other points along the levee, the cotton had been piled up and submitted to the torch. It was burned by order of the Governor of Louisiana and of the military commander of the Confederate States. Fifteen thousand bales were consumed; the value of which would have been about a million and a half of dollars. The tobacco stored in the city, being all held by foreign residents on foreign account, was not destroyed. The specie of the banks, to the amount of twelve or fifteen millions, was removed from the city and placed in a secure place; so were nearly all the stores and movable property of the Confederate States. But other materials were embraced in the awful conflagration. About a dozen large river steamboats, twelve or fifteen ships, some of them laden with cotton, a great floating battery, several unfinished gun-boats, the immense ram, the Mississippi, and the docks on the other side of the river, were all embraced in the fiery sacrifice. The Mississippi was an iron-clad frigate, a superior vessel of her class, and accounted to be by far the most important naval structure the Confederate Government had yet undertaken.
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