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[696] from which a conflagration might extend to the whole business portion of Richmond. In vain Mayor Mayo and a committee of citizens had remonstrated against this reckless military order. The warehouses were fired; the flames seized on the neighbouring buildings and soon involved a wide and widening area; the conflagration passed rapidly beyond control; and in this mad fire, this wild, unnecessary destruction of their property the citizens of Richmond had a fitting souvenir of the imprudence and recklessness of the departing Administration.

Morning broke on a scene never to be forgotten. It was a strange picture-impossible to describe — the smoke and glare of fire mingled with the golden beams of the rising sun. The great warehouse on the Basin was wrapped in flames; the fire was reaching to whole blocks of buildings; and as the sun rose majestically above the horizon, it burnished the fringe of smoke with lurid and golden glory. Curious crowds watched the fire. Its roar sounded in the ears; it leaped from street to street; pillagers were busy at their vocation, and in the hot breath of the fire were figures as of demons contending for prey.

The sun was an hour or more above the horizon, when suddenly there ran up the whole length of Main street the cry of “Yankees!” “Yankees I” The upper part of this street was choked with crowds of pillagers --men provided with drays, others rolling barrels up the street, or bending under heavy burdens, and intermixed with them women and children with smaller lots of plunder in bags, baskets, tubs, buckets, and tin-pans. As the cry of “Yankees” was raised, this motley crowd tore up the street, cursing, screaming, trampling upon each other, alarmed by an enemy not yet in sight, and madly seeking to extricate themselves from imaginary dangers. Presently, beyond this crowd, following up the tangled mass of plunderers, but not pressing or interfering with them, was seen a small body of Federal cavalry, riding steadily along. Forty Massachusetts troopers, despatched by Gen. Weitzel to investigate the condition of affairs, had ridden without let or hindrance into Richmond. At the corner of Eleventh street they broke into a trot for the public square, and in a few moments their guidons were planted on the Capitol, and fluttered there a strange spectacle in the early morning light.

A few hours thereafter, and Weitzel's troops were pouring through the streets of the city. A lady, who witnessed the grand Federal entree, and has given a very graphic account of it, thus describes a portion of the scene: “Stretching from the Exchange Hotel to the slopes of Church Hill, down the hill, through the valley, up the ascent to the hotel, was the array, with its unbroken line of blue, fringed with bright bayonets. Strains of martial music, flushed countenances, waving swords, betokened the victorious army. As the line turned at the Exchange Hotel into the upper street, the movement was the signal for a wild burst of cheers ”

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