“(Signed) E. EUDES.”
The insurgents had collected a considerable quantity of powder in the Pantheon, and when the Versailles troops obtained possession of the building the officer in command at once searched for the slow match, and cut it off when it had not more than a yard to burn!
Instructions were given to the firemen not to extinguish the fires, but to retire to the Champ de Mars with the pumps and other apparatus. Whenever a man attempted to do anything to arrest the conflagration he was fired at. The firemen, who had arrived from all parts, even from Belgium, and honest citizens who joined them, worked to extinguish the fires amid showers of bullets. At the Treasury the labours of these men were four times interrupted by the violent cannonading of the insurgents.
The fire broke out at the TUILERIES on Tuesday evening. When the battalions at the Arc de Triomphe and at the Corps Legislatif had silenced the guns ranged before the Palace, the insurgents set fire to it, and threw out men en tirailleur to prevent anyone from approaching to subdue the flames.
At the same moment an attempt was made to set fire to the MINISTRY OF MARINE, in obedience to an order given to Commandant Brunel, which was thus worded:—“In a quarter of an hour the Tuileries will be in flames; as soon as our wounded are removed, you will cause the explosion of the Ministry.” It was Admiral Pothuau, the minister himself, who, at the head of a handful of sailors, set the incendiaries to flight, Brunel along with them. They also arrived in time to prevent any damage being done to the BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE.
The struggle was terrific during the night; the insurgents, who had sought refuge in the Ministry of Finance, after the taking of the barricade in the Rue Saint-Florentin, increased the fury of the flames by firing from the windows, and discharging jets of petroleum at the soldiers.
On Wednesday morning the battle had become fearful. Towards ten o’clock columns of smoke rose above Paris, forming a thick cloud, which the sun’s rays could not penetrate. Then, simultaneously, all the fires burst forth: at the CONSEIL D’ETAT, at the LEGION OF HONOUR, at the CAISSE DES DEPOTS ET CONSIGNATIONS. at the HOTEL DE VILLE, at the PALAIS ROYAL, at the MINISTRY OF FINANCE, at the PREFECTURE DE POLICE, at the PALAIS DE JUSTICE, at the THEATRE LYRIQUE, in the Rue du Bac, the Rue de Lille, the Rue de la Croix-Rouge, Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, in a great number of houses in the Faubourgs Saint-Germain and Saint-Honore, in the Rue Royale, and in the Rue Boissy d’Anglas. Not many hours later, flames were seen to arise from the Avenue Victoria, Boulevard Sebastopol, Rue Saint-Martin, at the Chateau d’Eau, in the Rue Saint-Antoine, and the Rue de Rivoli.
During the night of Friday, the docks of LA VILLETTE, and the warehouses of the DOUANE, the GRENIER D’ABONDANCE and the GOBELINS were all burning! So great was the glare that small print could be read as far off as Versailles, even on that side of the town towards Meudon and Ville d’Avray.