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 ‘The fire originated in Richardson street, near where I saw with my own eyes burning cotton bales, which had been set on fire by Confederate cavalry. I was supreme in command inside of Columbia during the night of the conflagration, and I allow no man, not even Jeff. Davis, to question my statement of facts as seen by myself. The fire in Columbia on the night of February 17, 1865, in my judgment then and now, was caused by particles of burning cotton blown against a fence and sheds, which spread to the houses and finally consumed the centre, but not the whole of the town. The cotton was unquestionably set fire to by Confederate cavalry, which fire was partially subdued by our troops in the day time, whilst the trains of General Logan's corps were passing. But after the trains had passed and the night began, the men ceased to carry water. The fire spread anew, and finally reached a shed or fence. Houses, built of pitch pine, burned with rapidity and fury under a tornado of wind. What of Columbia remained the next morning was wholly due to General Logan's troops. Without them not a house would have escaped. Had I intended to burn Columbia I would have done it, just as I would have done any other act of war, and there would have been no concealment about it.’ This statement is, that the cotton, or some cotton, in Columbia, was set fire to by the Confederate cavalry; that the fire was subdued by General Logan's corps, ‘the Fifteenth’; that when the Federal soldiers ceased to carry water, at night, the fire broke out anew and spread rapidly, and that what of Columbia remained the next morning was wholly due to Logan's troops. The first fact is as to the burning of cotton by the Confederate cavalry. General Hampton, in a letter dated April 22d, 1866, published in an account of the burning of Columbia, written in 1866 by Dr. W. H. Trezevant, and published in that year, says that he was directed by General Beauregard, his superior officer, on the morning that the Union forces came in, ‘to issue an order that the cotton should not be burned,’ and that there was ‘not a bale on fire’ when the Federals entered the town. General Beauregard says that this statement is correct, and that ‘the only thing on fire, at the time of the evacuation, was the depot building of the South Carolina railroad, which caught fire accidentally from the explosion of some ammunition ordered to be sent towards Charlotte, North Carolina.’ Mayor Goodwyn and Aldermen Stork and McKenzie certify that General Stone was in possession of the city an hour before General Sherman arrived, and that when they passed the cotton with Stone it was not
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