Charleston, SC Fire, Dec 1861


Full Particulars from the Charleston Papers of Saturday.

The Loss Estimated at Seven Millions.

About Six Hundred Buildings Destroyed on the First Day.


VIA BALTIMORE, Tuesday, Dec. 17.}

I have received a copy of to-day's Norfolk Day Book, by a flag of truce. It contains the follow important intelligence:


CHARLESTON, Saturday, Dec. 14, 1961

The Charleston Courier gives a list of between two and three hundred sufferers by the recent fire, and says the loss is estimated at $7,000,000.
Mr. RUSSELL, in whose sash and blind factory the fire originated, says the cause was the negligence and treachery of negroes.

The Mercury of the 14th gives a list of five hundred and seventy-six buildings which were totally destroyed by fire on Wednesday alone. One negro woman was burned to death.

The Mills House was several times on fire, and considerably damaged.

Augusta, Friday, Dec. 13.

The Charleston Mercury of this A. M. says that the fire destroyed five churches.

The Cathedral, St. Peter's, (Episcopal) the Cumberland-street, (Methodist), and the Circular Church, also the Institute Hall, St. Andrew's Hall, Apprentices' Library Hall, the Southern Express office, the Palmetto Savings Institution, the Art Association Hall, the Cotton Press and Cameron & Co.'s founder are destroyed.

RICHMOND, Saturday, Dec. 14.

The largest sum reported subscribed in the Day Book for the Charleston sufferers is one hundred dollars.

The Richmond Dispatch of the 14th contains a message of JEFFERSON DAVIS on the Charleston conflagration. He expresses great distress of mind, considerable pity, and proposes to pay a part of what Congress owes South Carolina, as a means of aiding the sufferers, but has no funds to give away.

A kindly disposed rebel soldier is reported to have said that the fire in Charleston is well known to have resulted from the negroes setting fire to various buildings at the same time.

RICHMOND, Sunday, Dec. 15.

The fire broke out at about 9 o'clock in the evening of the 11th inst., in RUSSELL & OLD'S sash and blind factory, at the foot of Hazel-street, extending to the machine shop of CAMERON & Co. Before midnight the fire had assumed an appalling magnitude, and Meeting-street, from Market to Queen, was one mass of flame. As tenement after tenement was enveloped in flames, the panic became awful, and thousands of families evacuated their houses and filled the streets. The buildings in the lower part of the city, where the fire broke out, were principally of wood, and extremely inflammable, which accounts for the remarkably inflammable, which accounts for the remarkably rapid progress of the fire. At midnight the Circular Church and Institute Hall were burning, and the proximity of the flames to the Charleston Hotel and the Mills House, caused them to be evacuated by their inmates.

At 1 o'clock the fire tended more southward, toward the corner of Archdale and Queen streets, to the rear of the Charleston Hotel and to the end of Hayne-street; crossing Market-street, the fire spread down East Bay to Cumberland street, and across to the Mills House, including in its destruction the Circular Church, Institute Hall and the Charleston Hotel. All the buildings on Kingstreet, from Clifford nearly to Broad, were destroyed before 3 o'clock. Gen. RIPLEY, who superintended the movements of the troops who arrived on the scene at about this time ordered several buildings on the route of the conflagration to be blown up. After some delay the order was executed, but not before the theatre, Floyd's coach factory, opposite the Express office, the old Executive building, and all the houses from this point to Queen-street had caught fire, and were destroyed.

At about 4 o'clock the wind changed the direction of the flames towards Broad-street. Soon after St. Andrew's Hall took fire, and subsequently the cathedral, the spire of which fell shortly after 5 o'clock. The fire made a clear sweep through the city, making its track from East Bay to King-street.

The New York Times, New York, NY 18 Dec 1861