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 on fire, and that ‘it did not take fire for some time after the authority was vested in him.’ Alderman Stork says further, that ‘he saw the Yankee soldiers light their cigars and throw the matches in among the cotton,’ and Captain Pratt, of the Union army, said to Alderman McKenzie: ‘I wish you had burned the whole (of the cotton); it would have saved us trouble, as our orders are to burn all the cotton in town.’ Moreover, Alderman McKenzie says it was some time after his return with Stone and Pratt that the cotton was on fire, and when the alarm was given be went to the spot and extinguished the fire, so that it did not at any time blaze out again. The Rev. Mr. Shand, of Columbia, says that the fire in the cotton originated from the fire of the cigars of the Union soldiers, and that “neither sparks nor flames were extended to the neighboring buildings, and no damage was done, ‘except to the cotton.’” In fact, the cotton which Sherman saw, and to which he alludes, was extinguished by one o'clock, and never again ignited. The gentlemen whose statements we have given are living, with one exception. Hundreds of witnesses will substantiate their assertions. It should be noted also that Colonel Conyngham, United States Army, and Major Nichols, of Sherman's staff, in their published accounts of the occupation of Columbia, show that the fire which ravaged the town commenced after dark. How, then, did that fire originate? Mr. Shand, a venerable Episcopal clergyman, says in his account of the burning, that at eight o'clock at night rockets were seen to ascend, and ‘immediately thereafter a fire broke out in the central portion of the city, near the market, and soon assumed alarming proportions.’ Then he noticed ‘fresh flames bursting out on the east, west and south, at points very distant from each other, and not possibly caused by the communication of flames from one to another.’ The Rev. William B. Yates, a well-known Episcopal clergyman, says he was in his yard when the fatal rocket went up, and one of the Union soldiers exclaimed, ‘Now, you will see hell.’ Asking what this meant, he was told: ‘That is the signal for a general setting of fire to the city.’ Immediately thereafter, a number of fires could be seen in every direction. Mr. Shand saw the soldiers attempt to set fire to one of his outhouses. Alderman Stork also saw them set fire to the cotton and to private houses. Soldiers told Captain Stanley, a veteran of the Mexican war, who is still living, that ‘they would give them (the Columbians) hell to-night,’ and that the arrangements for burning the city were all made over the river before the troops came in. It is, in fine, as well established as any fact
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