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General G. W. C. Lee's division being mostly composed of heavy artillery, was almost without transportation, which was procured by impressing all that could be found. All the guard-forces were required to take the prisoners from the Libby and Castle Thunder, and as the militia had dispersed (being mostly foreigners), no troops remained in town except a few convalescents. A mob of both sexes and all colors soon collected, and about 3 A. M. set fire to some buildings on Cary street, and began to plunder the city. The convalescents then stationed in the Square were ordered to repress the riot, but their commander shortly reported himself unable to do so, his force being inadequate. I then ordered all my staff and couriers who could be spared, to scour the streets, so as to intimidate the mob by a show of force, and sent word to General Kershaw, who was coming up from the lines, to hurry his leading regiment into town. By daylight the riot was subdued, but many buildings which I had carefully directed should be spared, had been fired by the mob. The Arsenal was thus destroyed, and a party of men went to burn the Tredegar Works, but were prevented by General Anderson's arming his operatives and declaring his intention to resist. The small bridge over the canal on Fourteenth street was burned by incendiaries, who set a canal boat on fire and pushed it under the bridge. This was evidently done in hopes of embarrassing our retreat, and General Kershaw's division passed the bridge while on fire at a ‘double quick.’ By 7 A. M. the last troops had reached the south side, and Mayo's and the railroad bridges were set on fire.

From the hills above Manchester we watched for some time the progress of the flames, and all at once saw fire break out through the roof of one of the large mills on the side farthest from the burning warehouses, the flames from which scarcely reached half way up the sides of the mill. It was considered a fire-proof building, and extra precautions had been taken by the owners. I cannot conceive how it could have caught in such a place, unless set on fire. I have been told that Mr. Crenshaw found his mill full of plunderers, whom he got out by agreeing to give them all the provisions in the mill, and that they were in the act of building a fire on the upper story of the mill when discovered. I tried to find out if this was true, but no reply has come to the letters written for that purpose. If correct, it affords exact proof of what I am firmly convinced is the case, that the burning of Richmond was the work of incendiaries, and might have been prevented by the citizens. General G. W. C. Lee's division crossed the river at Drewry's and united with Kershaw a few miles from Manchester.

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J. B. Kershaw (3)
G. W. C. Lee (2)
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Drewry (1)
Crenshaw (1)
R. H. Anderson (1)
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