On Tuesday morning the Novelty Bakery, 242 Front Street was destroyed with a large amount of flour. The flames soon extended to the adjoining buildings … and through into Water Street.
The wind blew a gale from the north west, covering the shipping at the docks with burning cinders. The Great Republic was soon in flames and burned to the water's edge. The packet ship Joseph Walker of the Black Star Line is also a total loss. The clipper White Squall was towed down the river a mass of flames. The clipper Red Rover was towed out of dock in flames, and was eventually burned to the water's edge. The packet ship De Witt Clinton was also very seriously damaged. Many other vessels are burned in their spars, rigging or hulls. The ferry boats were busy towing out vessels into the stream by which many were saved.
The Great Republic was scuttled when she first took fire, but there was not sufficient water to sink her. Total loss is now estimated at one million dollars, but is probably a great deal more.
The insurance on the Great Republic in Boston is reported to be only $20,000 in the New England Office; but she is understood to be largely insured in New York.
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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.