Philadelphia Fire


This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination


Site Search

Civil War Links


Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas


Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

Civil War Harper's Weekly, February 25, 1865

Below we present the February 25, 1865 edition of Harper's Weekly. This original newspaper features important news and illustrations of the war. Our site allows you to read all these original documents online to help you develop a more in depth understanding of this important period in American History.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Spring Campaign

Spring Campaign

Mine Explosion

Mine Explosion

Judah Benjamin

Judah P. Benjamin

Philadelphia Fire

Great Philadelphia Fire

Philadelphia Fire

Philadelphia Fire

Black Practitioner

First Black Practitioner


Civil War Clothes

Petroleum Company

Pacific Cost Petroleum Company

Rowanty Creek

The Battle of Rowanty Creek

Home Again

Home Again








[FEBRUARY 25, 1865.


(Precious Page) flame as resembling a screw in its progress. It first whirled up Ninth Street, and then the fiery torrent rushed down the street for a distance of two squares, and then back again at the caprice of the wind, destroying all living things that came in its way, burning dwellings and their contents as though they were no much straw, and even splitting into fragments the paving-stones in the street with the intense heat. Fully five squares of houses, had they been placed in a row, were on fire at once, and the scene was one to make the stoutest heart quail.

" People escaping from their blazing homes, with no covering but their night-clothes ; parents seeking for their children, and terrified little ones looking for safety in the horrid turmoil, were all dreadful enough, but there were still more terrible scenes witnessed. Men, women, and children were literally roasted alive in the streets."

It is thought that eight persons were burned to death. One of the most thrilling incidents connected with the fire was the daring attempt made by a Mr. FLEETWOOD, fireman, to rescue a lady from her house, which was encircled by the flames. It is thus described by the Philadelphia Press:

"The burning oil, hissing and seething, came pouring down the street, and the house, from which eleven persons had been rescued but a moment before, was licked up by the red, fiery tongues of the demon of Destruction. At this time the brave FLEETWOOD was bearing in his strong arms the body, it is supposed, of Mrs. WARE or one of her daughters. His companions were driven back by the approach of the burning element the increasing heat and stifling smoke. Almost at the same moment the burning oil burst through the rear part of the house, and, flowing through the entry, all chance of escape was gone. The brave fireman endeavored to fight his way out, still holding the woman in his arms. He reached the front door step; it was a moment of horror; he leaped from the step, driven by the flow of burning oil through the house, but the flames closed around him; a groan and a shriek escaped the lips of the victims, and both fell in death. His companions endeavored to rescue both, but it was impossible. Their crisped remains were found but a few feet distant from each other."

The loss from the fire is estimated at half a million. That portion of this loss, which falls to the poorest of the sufferers, will probably be made up to them by charitable citizens.


"I NEVER was guilty of such a thing in my life," said the Colonel, calmly.

"Never sent a valentine ?"


"Nor received one?"

" No."

" Benighted ignorance ! Here is a man to whom the most pleasing emotions are unknown; whose heart has never been wrung by the sight of its facsimile pierced with a barbed shaft, or softened with a delicious couplet wrapped in roses ! I'll tell my Cousin Mary. Miss Arundel, here is a full grown man who never sent or received a valentine."

Now if any one had been attentively observing him they might have detected a slight change in the indolent composure of the Colonel's handsome features. His negligent posture became the least bit more upright, and a glance from under his sleepy eyelids toward the lady addressed as Miss Arundel might have aroused in that same attentive observer some little of the interest of speculation. That is, if the attentive observer had been at hand ; which he wasn't.

Colonel Hugh Carton had been leaning carelessly over the back of a couch on which lounged his friend and inquisitor, Francis Graham, the boyish son of the Colonel's present host. And if Colonel Carton had been asked some ten days ago what he thought about country visits in general he would probably have answered, with a shrug, " Bores!" His opinion had undergone modification by this time, however. Perhaps the Grahams were singularly felicitous in the party of guests they contrived to draw together ; perhaps ten days of such glorious weather as rarely falls to the lot of February's infancy had something to do with the complacent state of his mind. At any rate, when young Graham appealed to Miss Arundel there was in Colonel Carton's momentary emotion a small stir of regret that this was the last evening of his stay.

The young lady was occupied with one of those never ending resources, the photographic albums, and she did not look up to answer her cousin's speech. It could not possibly matter to her about Colonel Carton and his valentines.

" What a noise you are making, Frank !" she said. "You drown the music."

" Music !" echoed Frank. "A dissipated entreaty to `Take this cup of sparkling wine.' You know I ought not to listen to that, Mary. And it makes my flesh creep, and turns you all into water nymphs and gnomes. No. Whose caricature have you got there ?"

"I have got Titiens as Margaret," replied Miss Arundel, quietly, faithful to her book.

"Somebody dressed up to resemble her, you mean ?" said Mr. Frank.

He made one or two more efforts to draw his cousin into what he called conversation, failed, gave it up, hid a yawn with some difficulty, and sauntered away. Those two were hopelessly stupid; the one as bad as the other. And suddenly something seemed to flash upon Mr. Frank, and he exclaimed, " By George!" and looked back ; but the relative positions were just as he had left them.

It might have been supposed that the Colonel, thus left free, would naturally join the young lady in her examination of Titiens as Margaret ; but he did not. Ile only altered his position by leaning against a dark back-ground of curtain, so as to be able to take in the whole room, with all its arrangements, at a glance. Certainly his hostess was a woman of tact. The general fault in these country house assemblages was, he considered, that the guests were too much en masse too gregarious. Now, here and there, in Mrs. Graham's drawing room, small tables were dotted about, admirably placed, and admitting of games for two only, apart from the rest, without being positively isolated: tables at which delightful little flirtations could and did go on with the most comfortable freedom from disturbance. Some one or two of these caught the Colonel's eye in its glance round the room, and he smiled to himself slightly. It is to be feared that he had a disposition to be cynical about them. He never flirted himself; it was an amusement that

had no charm for him ; but he thought this a very clever plan for parceling off sundry pairs out of the mass of guests, and making them amuse themselves and others who chose to look on. Then his eyes came back to bliss Arundel over her book. They rested there with a strange expression for a moment, and then dropped. Other people, perhaps, would have seen little beauty in the face, except the beauty inseparable in a degree at least from youth. But Colonel Carton did not see as other people did. He was up in the clouds about Mary Arundel; up in the clouds for the first time in his life. All that was most exalted, all that he would have been skeptical about a fortnight ago, tinted his thoughts of her. He threw the light of stars about her till it dazzled him. He fancied see how visionary the practical man grows when he is touched ! he fancied that, little as he sought her, they were yet together in perpetual, half conscious thought of each other, and reference to each other's judgment. But his visit was over, and could pot be prolonged. He did not yet know whether he meant to go away, having kept silence, or not.

Perhaps this uncertainty was a charm in itself; he could not tell. By and by, when the music began again, he left his leaning posture and approached Mary's table.

"It is a pity that pleasant things should come to an end," said the Colonel, out of his cloud. From any one else such a commencement as this, by an abstract proposition, might have made her laugh; but somehow the Colonel had got into a habit of speaking to her out of his hall finished reveries, and she was used to it.

"I don't know," responded Mary. " They say that pleasure itself would cease to be pleasant if it had no end."

The Colonel meditated.

" That applies to the present only ; I mean to this life," he said.

Mary did not answer. There was such an odd mixture of grave thoughts with lighter ones in this man's talk that he perplexed her. Just now, however, he seemed to rouse himself all at once. If he meant to speak out there was no time for wandering off into foreign discussion.

" I never thought to close a visit such as this with so much regret," he said. " I am obliged to leave here tomorrow. You go also, I think ?"

"Yes, I must be at home for my sister's wedding. It is fixed for the fourteenth."

The Colonel grew a shade paler as he looked down upon the face that was never raised to his. "If I thought " he began, slowly.

He never finished. The voice of his restless friend broke in upon him, and he stopped. He never did any thing in a hurry.

" Valentine's Day," said Frank, catching his cousin's speech, and innocently unconscious that he could have been spared. " A very proper day too. Now, Mary, confess; haven't you a weakness for valentines?"

"No, Frank."

" Carton," said Frank, solemnly, " she is afraid of you and won't own it. Valentine's Day has never passed yet without bringing her a cargo of what she affects to despise."

Mary laughed.

"And very amusing it is, especially when I get an original lyric from Francis Graham. You know, Frank—"

"Ch—ut ! Don't add libel to your other crimes. Carton, when we wore pinafores Mary promised to be faithful to me forever. I would have kept my pact and waited for her I mean, allowed her to wait for me," said Frank, twinkling his eye ; " but you see how it is. A wiser man than I am condemns valentines, and my poor annual offering is rejected!"

Mary answered quickly, a little displeased :

" Frank, you carry your nonsense too far. Of course, I am very fond of valentines, and you can send me as many as you like. Real ones," she added, trying to speak lightly; "all done up in a beautiful lace envelope, with " To my Valentine,' illuminated outside."

Mary stopped. There was a movement in the room which she understood, and she rose, not altogether sorry to get away.

" I shall remember," said the Colonel, turning to her. And then he added : " I'm afraid I shall not see you tomorrow ; I start early. Good night, and good by."

He might have held her hand a little longer than was usual or necessary ; perhaps he did.

But Mary went through the other " Good nights" with perfect calmness, and no one was sufficiently interested in her to notice that her eyes were very bright and her cheeks had more pink in them than usual. And the Colonel changed his dress and went to the smoking room, after hie habit ; but he did not stay there long, and he was very silent. In the early morning Frank Graham volunteered to accompany his friend for a mile or two. I dare say the Colonel could have dispensed with the courtesy ; but he did not say so, acquiescing simply.

As he rode away Colonel Carton turned his head, and looked slowly up along the range of windows which still had their blinds closed. It is just possible that this wistful backward look was seen, but that is Mary's business, not ours.

COLONEL CARTON was in town ; a lonely, meditative man. He had spent a whole dull month in
town. He had acquired secret, and probably lying
information, respecting the operas for the forth
coming season ; he had read political articles till he
was choked with politics. He had gone about from
place to place aimlessly, with a weight on his mind,
and a vague belief that there was a flaw somewhere
in the government of the universe, but where it was
he could not tell. For when Colonel Carton rode
away from the Graham's "place in the country," I
don't think he ever contemplated the possibility that
this thing which had happened to him would happen. The Colonel had never sent a valientine in his
life before ; he sent one then. It was not a string
of mild rhymes of his own putting together ; nor a
purchased and printed piece of inane sweetness.

It is true that he, who did nothing by halves, be thought him of the lace envelope which Mary had spoken of. She was jesting, of course; but she, should have one. I don't know how many respectable dealers in such fancy goods hated the Colonel for his hardness to please ; and I should be afraid to chronicle the price at which he finally secured a single envelope of the most delicate elaboration of design and finish. And on the outside of this he wrote gravely, "To my Valentine." There might have been a comical sort of dismay in his face as he looked at the sentence ; but he was not ashamed of it ; he was too much in earnest. Whatever it looked like to others, it meant for him, " To my wife if she will have me."

He could not have borne, of course, that indifferent eyes should see that dainty envelope and know it for his. But no one was to see it that is, no one but Mary. And then he had written his letter, and the light of stars got into it and filled it. He came down out of his cloud to write ; solemnly in earnest. The tender words which made their escape, somehow, from his unaccustomed pen, gave him so odd a sensation when he saw them that he was fain to lay his hand over the page and hide them from his own eyes as he went on.

What a fool he was !

This he would have said now ; for this valentine, which had grown under his hands into an almost sacred thing, never was answered.

Colonel Carton was not a conceited man ; but he had a certain proper amount of pride. What had this girl seen in him that she should not only mock him first with an affectation of interest, but absolutely receive his proposal with an insulting silence ?

He might not be worthy of her, perhaps ; but he was her equal in society's eyes ; and, at any rate, an honest man's offer of his heart and home and faithful devotion is at least worth a reply. The Colonel's pale face used to flush a little at those times when he was turning this over in his mind ; indeed it might be difficult to say when he was not turning it over in some indirect fashion. He would not have told the episode to his dearest friend by the way, I doubt whether he had a dearest friend ; if he had, that same friend kept strangely aloof from him now. The Colonel had few likings ; his heart would have been all his wife's, if-

Well, it was of no use to think any more about it. And, having come to that conclusion, the Colonel would deliberately begin again, and go over all the details of that visit which had been so precious to him.

A short time after, Mary Arundel's sister married Mr. Temple, a Member of Congress. Mary was living a grand life, he thought. If he had only known !


"LET me come in a bit, Carton. What an awful time it is since you were here !"

"Just two years," replied the Colonel, thoughtfully. " I hadn't this room then."

Frank Graham laughed, and made a grimace at the superfluity of looking glass which surrounded him.

"No: you may get a view of yourself in any position you like. I don't know why you were put here ; one of the mysteries of domestic polity, I suppose."

The Colonel shivered slightly, as a blast of wind sounded round the house and finished up with a dismal moan at the window.

"The fire is comfortable," he said. "If I recollect rightly, it's different weather from that we had this time two years. Many people here, Frank ?"

" Well yes; pretty fair. You know most of them. The Temples are here. And Mary Arundel is with them. Carton, don't be angry with a fellow ; but, do you know, I used to fancy—"

" There's just fifteen minutes to dress in," said the Colonel, rising with his usual deliberation ; "and I don't know that I can do it, so—"

" In polite language, I'm to `take and hook it,' eh? Well, I'll not hinder such a get up as yours. By by."

Colonel Carton gave exactly five out of the fifteen minutes remaining to meditation; which did him very little service. So he would have to meet her again. How? He tried to settle this question, and failed. After all, it did not depend entirely upon himself; it was as well, perhaps, to leave it to chance.

Ile was down in excellent time, notwithstanding the wasted five minutes; and it fell to his lot to take Miss Arundel in to dinner.

I don't suppose that a more taciturn couple ever descended a staircase together. The Colonel had renewed his acquaintance with Miss Arundel indeed, but with the most inimitable distance and gravity. No one, seeing them meet, would have suspected the existence of those past passages in their lives which once drew them so closely together. And the Colonel did not think it necessary to make conversation either. Beyond the barest civilities he said nothing, and seemed quite content that Mary's attention should be wholly engrossed by her other neighbor.

That night the Colonel played chess with Mrs. Temple at one of the convenient little tables before mentioned. It was rather a silent game, so that they could not have made much progress toward intimacy by means of words ; neither can I tell how it was that before he checkmated her the Colonel caught himself' speaking to Mrs. Temple with his old peculiar mixture of frankness and reserve accorded only to his friends, while she listened to him, and answered him too, as though they had known each other from childhood instead of having met for the first time an hour or two ago. The psychologist might resolve it into a simple question of natural affinities; at any rate, whatever the cause, the result is certain, that these two sought each other out front the first night of their meeting as old friends might have done.

" My sister is going to sing," said Mrs. Temple, one evening, as the pieces were placed. " I'm afraid this will be a poor game, for I always listen to Mary. You have heard her ?"

" No," the Colonel was not aware that Miss Arundel sang at all.

"Yet you must have met here once before, I think ?"


" That is strange. Perhaps it was ah, yes, I remember; singing was forbidden to her just then; she is never very strong. Do you play first ?"

Colonel Carton propelled the king's pawn into its accustomed square, and appeared to watch his adversary's move with interest.

"Miss Arundel is much quieter than she was two years ago. I remember that she was the life of all pleasure arrangements. If she is in delicate health that explains it."

"Ask her," said Mrs. Temple, laughing. " She will tell you it's old age. Mary is odd."

The Colonel looked at her ladyship's blonde face and fair hair speculatively. She must be at least five years younger than Mary, he thought. And then, with a finger on the piece he was about to move, he stopped. As a rule, he did not care for amateur singing; people in the constant habit of hearing first rate professionals seldom do. But this was another thing, altogether different from the amateur singing of his experience. He kept his eyes on the board steadily, but Mrs. Temple saw that he was not thinking about the game.

" Suppose we give it up for a time ?" said she. He looked up quickly, with a slight smile.

"I beg your pardon, Mrs. Temple; not unless you wish it ; I move the bishop."

Foolish play, as Mrs. Temple knew, and utterly foreign to his usual tactics; but she said nothing, and the Colonel lost the game in a few moves.

"For the first time!" said she, triumphantly; " we will not begin again tonight."

Colonel Carton acquiesced. Mary was still at the piano, and likely to remain there. When such assemblies as these get hold of a fine voice, there is very little mercy shown to its owner. By and by the Colonel got restless, and went up again to Mrs. Temple.

"You said your sister was not strong. Won't she be tired?"

" Yes," said Mrs. Temple ; " I shall put a stop to it."

Perhaps she expected him to accompany her to the piano, but he did not; neither did he join the group of enthusiasts who loaded the singer with thanks and flattery. Mary and be were seldom near each other ; when they were, it was as though they had both touched an iceberg, and never again could thaw into any degree of kindliness or warmth. Yet still the Colonel staid on. He had only come down for a day or two, but a week was gone already. He did not know how closely those keen eyes of young Graham's watched him, nor how perplexed the young man was with his behavior.

"They make love like crowned heads," said Frank ; " that is, if it isn't all a sell ; I never saw such stately politeness between lovers."

But there was no love making in the case ; nothing at all like it.

And one evening Colonel Carton determined with himself that he had staid too long already, and would positively take his departure the next morning. He was standing indolently in the doorway of the back drawing room when he made this decision; and round the fire, in that coziest of retreats, he saw Mrs. Temple and her sister, two or three other young ladies, and Frank Graham, all in some animated discussion all, that is, except Mary. Her face was turned toward the fire, and the profile, which was all he saw, struck him with its expression of weary listlessness. Suddenly Mary turned and looked at him a strange look, averted hastily in a moment, for she had not known that he was there. But the Colonel saw the quick rush of color over her face saw her put up one hand to hide it, and felt desperately that he must go away, or once again he should be a fool.

" Carton !" cried Frank, darting up, and drawing him toward the group. " The very man I wanted. He never sent one in his life. I heard him boast about it in that very room. Isn't it a true bill, Carton? I've adopted your opinions. Bear witness with use that valentines are silly, childish, nonsensical, every thing that's had."

The Colonel, with a bitterness that the occasion did not seem to demand, replied,

" As mediums for inflicting pain and unwarrantable insult, I think them admirable, Frank." Every one looked up at the Colonel as he said this. Even Frank began rashly, "Hallo, old fellow, I didn't think " and then stopped, not knowing what to say. Mrs. Temple was the first to break the uneasy silence, which she did with an assumed indifference.

"Colonel Carton judges them harshly. I have had many a laugh over mine before I was married. I don't get any now. I remember that the last I had was on my wedding morning, and I never opened it."

" Never opened it !" repeated Frank. " What a shame !"

"No. It wasn't likely I could attend to such matters then. When I took off the outside cover, and saw what it was, I threw it with a lot of old letters into my traveling desk, and there it is now for any thing I know to the contrary. It's odd I never had the curiosity to look for it; suppose

have a search now? Frank, you may fetch the desk, if it isn't too heavy for you."

No one spoke while Mrs. Temple unlocked the traveling desk, which looked rather ponderous for a lady's use. No one noticed the tall figure behind her chair; no one saw the lips compressed and white, the head bending lower and lower, and the long fingers pressing into each other as Mrs. Temple dived into the secret recesses of the desk. He saw it all now; all his blind stupidity, and what it had caused, flashed across him as Mrs. Temple held up the long hidden envelope. Half a dozen small hands were stretched out eagerly for it; one, larger than these, suddenly pressed somewhat heavily on her shoulder.

" Mrs. Temple, may I entreat of your goodness to restore to me that letter?"




Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South.  For Questions or comments about this collection, contact

Privacy Policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.