Washington, DC Storm, Feb 1862
A Tremendous Gale.
A violent northwest wind visited Washington and vicinity this morning. Such flags as were not speedily drawn in were very soon whipped into ribbons, and it was deemed expedient not to hoist the flags on the Senate and House of Representatives upon the assembling of those bodies. The skylights of the Congressional Library were demolished, and the rattling of the roofs over the Senate and House rendered the transaction of business difficult and caused no little harm. Several houses were blown down south of the Capitol, and a number of roofs torn off in various parts of the city. Trinity Church, on Third and C streets, was damaged to some extent in the upsetting of one or two wooden pinnacles on the towers, and the throwing down of one of the small brown stone blocks from the front, and a portion of the roof was also broken.
The water in the Potomac was lashed into a perfect foam, the waves dashing furiously over the Long Bridge and the wharves. At the wharf of the Lunatic Asylum, against which the wind had a long sweep, the water frequently dashed to the height of thirty feet, completely submerging the timbers. A schooner, which had anchored off the Arsenal, dragged six anchors and drifted ashore, and considerable damage was done to other vessels lying at the wharves. The steamers were compelled to cease running, and a freight train coming up from Alexandria could with difficulty make its way against the gale.
About noon it was noticed that the lofty steeple upon the Thirteenth Street Baptist Church (where Rev. Dr. SAMPSON has been officiating) was swaying fearfully. It finally was blown down, and its weight and the massive bell entirely crushed the roof and side walls, leaving the front and eat walls standing. The fine organ of the church is presumed to be uninjured, from the appearance of the walls where it stands, but of this there is not certainty, as not one has cared to venture among the ruins to see. The steeple was 161 feet high from the roof. The damages here are estimated at not less than $12,000.
The north wall in its fall crushed the back building of the fine dwelling on that side belonging to Mr. S. MASI, and occupied by the family of Mr. SMART.
In the northern part of the city the damage to property has been considerable.