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Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Great Fire of Charleston SC in 1861

A great fire occurred in Charleston on December 11, 1861 around 8:30 PM. General Lee had made a general inspection of the city's defenses that day and was dining at the Mills House. The origin of the fire came from Slave refugees had started a campfire near the sash and blind factory which got out of control. It spread to the factory and to Cameron's Foundry next door and rising winds blew it southwesterly in Market Street where sparks set ablaze wooden tenements. Then the fire quickly roard into the neighboring streets and within minutes the Gas Works was exploding iinto flames. It swept down Meeting Street destroying the Circular Congregational Church, the Institute Hall where the Ordinanace of Secession was signed, the Charleston Theatre and other buildings. The fire swept down Queen and Meeting Streets and Friend Street. It was so terrible that citizens crouched in the streets. The magnificient Cathedral of St. John and St. Finbar burned to the ground.

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