University of Virginia, Sunday, Nov. 3, 1895

Last Sunday immediately on writing the
forgoing notes, I put up my books
and prepared to dress for services.


Just as I found myself stark naked &
before a bright fire was preparing
to take a sponge bath (it being about
10.15 a.m.) Mrs. Lambeth in a very
excited voice called to me that the
Public hall was on fire. I thought
nothing of it, completed my bath &
soon hastened over about 10.30. I found
the fire serious indeed. The rear end
of the Annex near the roof was smoking
& the flames had just burst out. A
great crowd of students & others had
gathered all around much excited.
Some were running here & there
helpless as to what should be done
on account of the small supply
of water. Helping to move a long
& heavy hose, I considered what best
to be done. A few moments suffice [sic]
to show that the annex must certainly
burn, -- most probably the Rotunda.
I hastened to aid in removing the
physical apparatus of Prof. Smith
for this was nearest to me.
Finishing all I could here I hasten-
ed to the Law lecture room & found
all the important books removed.
I took up an armfull [sic] of such as
remained & hastened out; thence back
to the physical laboratory. A pause
for some minutes took place while
several charges of dynamite & powder
were used to blow down the Annex
Reading room & Old Chapel. Then Seeing
all useless everyone did what they
could to save the Library. When I got
to the Library all the pictures of im-
portance had been moved; the bust


of Grand old John B. had been car-
ried out & the pedestal was being
removed. The dome was full of
smoke: for an instant there was
but one man in the room that
I could see & I asked him to
hasten down with me to get twenty
men to move Galt's celebrated statute [sic]
of Jefferson which cost $10000. When
we returned there were a great many
in the room & on the stairs carrying
books & other things. (Previous to all
this I had helped to carry Prof. Kent's
handsome secretary.) There was Dr.
Cocke, Prof. Thornton & others, a rope
had been secured & many were waiting
but still Prof. Thornton delayed to
assent to the moving. He thought
the Rotunda would be saved--too sacred
to burn--so we all thought at first. I joined
Dr. Cocke in urging him to permit the
removal. When he consented, I aided in
lowering the statute [sic] from the pedestal.
I was so stifled with smoke that I
hastened to the window but did not
recross for some moments. Returning
I found stronger hands at work, so
I hastened to remove books & desks. Then
also to the reading room & the Old
Chapel. When this was done I
hastened out on the Lawn & saw
the first awfully sublime sight of my
life--the bursting of the flames from
the summit of the dome. I could
not stay here long, for we were called
to fall in line to pass water.
This I did until a halt was called.
I returned to the Lawn--paused be-


hind Prof. W.D. Dabney (I love him!) & Mr. Paige
the librarian. The old clock had stopped
5 minutes of 12 o'clock. Prof. Dabney turned
to introduce me to Mr. Paige, the minute
hand fell back to half past 11. Soon
the old old bell stood out bare
amidst the flames & smoke; a little
later the clock fell toward the front
& was crashed on the marble steps. Just
here Prof. Minor touched me to aid
in passing water. I hastened to one
of the alleys & for a long, long while
passed buckets though painfully
tired. A halt was called. Returning to
the Lawn I saw that the dome had
fallen; a great smoke was rising
from the ruins; the flames were
licking up the (?) in part of the
entablature from of [sic] the celebrated capitals
of Jeffersons [sic]; & these were falling piece-
meal. The fire had done its worst.
I looked long at this most cherished
work of the greatest of America's sons.
I would willing [sic] have given all but
honor to know it but a horrid night-
mare which it seemed. Dr. Lambeth's
house narrowly escaped. I went to
see what was done there; ate dinner;
returned to the Lawn found Tom Lewis &
Prof. Dabney, with whom I walked
around the ruins. Prof. Venable asked
the name of the painter who copied
the "School of Athens", the only good
copy which a little while before
had been in the Public hall. I told
him "Balze". We went around to the
wall on the west. It was growing
dark. The moon came up from


opposite side & peeped through the
desolated columns. We spoke of the
Parthenon, the Pantheon; I thought of
the Colliseum [sic] & of Byron. We separated
& the tragic day was done.

On Monday evening 7.30 there
was a mass meeting of the students
in the Chapel. Most of the professors
were there. It was the provident
meeting hour of my life. To have been
or to be a matriculate of the Univer-
sity of Virginia was sufficient honor
for a life. All regret for not
going to Hopkins died there. The
Law class use the "Wash" Hall. Yester-
afternoon I received a letter from Mr.
Sprunt telling me of the bad condition
of business and of his inability to
take my books. I have but six
cents; yet I believe by the favor of
Heaven I shall finish my course
here. Last night I debated at
the "Jeff" and thought the exercises good.
Enjoyed Dr. Cocke's sermon this morn-
ing text "All things work together for
good to those who love God."