Thus, the dreadful day wore on, and night drew near. The principal business portion of the city, and the North Division from the river to Lincoln Park, had been swept by the flames, comprising an area of more than five square miles. As the awful day drew to Its close, thousands of anxious eyes watched the clouds of make that hung over the scene of desolation, dreading lest a change of, wind !might drive the flames upon that portion of the clly whIch was still unburned, and fervent were the prayers for rain.
No pen can describe the horrors of the night. A hundred thousand people encamped in the fields and in Lincoln Park. The weather was tempestuous and cold. A heavy rain the day previous had drenched the turf, which the trampling feet of the thousands of fugitives from the fire had soon beaten into a morass. And then on, on the bleak prairie, shelterless and half naked, delicate women slept with their babes. clasped to their breasts, or moaned in unspeakable anguish throughout the dreadful night, longing for day and yet dreading its dawn. What hearts were broken during that awful watcb in cold and darkness and terror, what lives of lingering sickness and pain prepared can never be known. It would seem as if such dIstress might soften the most obdurate heart; yet even There armed patrols were needed to guard the helpless from robbery and the baser passions of desperate ruffians, who, under cover of the general panic and disorganization, sought to inaugurate a new reign of terror. Houses were broken open and pillaged all over the town. Rape and arson and murder were not unfrequent; and It became necessary to form vigilante committees who promptly disposed of the culprits by hanging ,or shooting. Fortunately General Sheridan was at his post. The city was placed under martial law and wretches cnught in the act of pillaging or setting fire to buildings—for, incredible as it may seem, men became incendiaries in the midst of the burning town—were executed on the spot. In some cases the citizens, maddened by the sight of pillage or arson, fell upon the miscreant and beat him to death. The number executed is estimated at about fifty. Among the ruffians so disposed or were four desperadoes well known to the police of every cily in the Union—BARNEY AARON, BILL TRACY, JIM MUNDAY; and JIM BROWN—as vile a set of scoundrels as ever picked a pocket or cut a throat.
During the whole of the uight of the !ltb the fire continued to burn on the north side; but the wind went down, and shortly after midnight rain commenced falling. and by daylight the flames were under control. Freed from anxiety in regard to the further spreading of the flames, the citizens took measures for the protection of property and for the care of the thousands “ho were homeless and shelterless. The first night few could be provided with shelter, and the most harrowing scenes were witnessed on every hand. Several children were born into the world in the midst of the storm, only to die. There were invalids of every age and condition of life, who had been taken from their beds and carried where death came to them less swiftly but not less surely than in the fiery flood.
In response to the cry for help that went up from the stricken city, instant and abundant relief was sent from every part of the Union. The general government sent thousands of tents and army rations. Socielies. and private citizens sent money, clothing, and provisions. Railroad companies dispatched special trains laden with these gifts. From Canada and from Europe came expressions of sympathy and proffers of assistance. Whereyer the news was carried it awakened the best impulses of human nature. But it must be borne in mind that more is wanted than temporary relief. Of the thousands of people who have been thrown out of employment and deprived of their bomes. just at the commencement of winter, many will require assistance for weeks and months to come, and this assistance must be afforded by the country at large.
The sphit and courage exhibited by the business people of Chicago is above all praise. The smoke still hung over their ruined city, when they met and resolved upon measures that would restore its fame and magnificence, nnd maintain its credit unimpaired. The newspapers. with their accustomed enterprise, immediately resumed publication as best they could, and generous assistance was afforded by the press of other cities, in the shape of type, paper, etc. Temporary buildings were erected ill every direction, and in less than a week after the cessation of tbe fire hundreds of houses were ready for occupation. The spirit of prostration gave way to one of confidence and hope. every business man who could hire a shed resumed business. One hundred thousand doilars was subscribed toward rebuilding the Chamber of Commerce, and the work will be commenced at once. With this spirit animating her citizens, Chicago will soon recover from this great calamity, more magnificent and beautiful than she was before the fire.