November 27, 1864
Little going on at the White House, but the New York Times reports: “The diabolical plot to burn the City of New-York, published yesterday morning, proves to be far more extensive than was at first supposed. It has already proved to the entire satisfaction of the authorities, that the affair was planned by the rebels and has been in preparation for a long time past, the men selected to perform the work were sent to this City at various times and under various pretexts, and arriving here they formed themselves into a regularly organized band, had their various officers, including a treasurer, whom they could always find, and who was always ready to supply them with the money necessary to carry out their infernal work, and they proceeded deliberately to mature their plans for one of the most fiendish and inhuman acts known in modern times.”
The plan was excellently well conceived, and evidently prepared with great care, and had it been executed with one-half the ability with which it was drawn up, no human power could have saved this city from utter destruction. It was evidently the intention of the conspirators to fire the city, at a given moment, at a great many different points, each as far remote from the other as possible, except through Broadway, and this thoroughfare they wished to see in a complete blaze, from one end to the other. To do this, they commenced at the St. James Hotel, corner of Broadway and Twenty-Fifth-street, next the Fifth-avenue Hotel, extending from Twenty-third to Twenty-fourth-street, then (missing the New-York Hotel, which it seems was not included in their list) The Lafarge House and Winter Garden Theatre, just below Amity-street; next followed the St. Nicholas, Metropolitan, Howard, Belmont, and others. In all thirteen of our principle hotels. About the same time several hay barges along the river were set on fire, and attempts were made to fire Barnum’s Museum and other public buildings. Had all these hotels, hay barges, theatres, &c., been set on fire at the same moment, and each fire well kindled, the Fire Department would not have been strong enough to extinguish them all, and during the confusion the fire would probably have gained so great a headway that before assistance could have been obtained, the best portion of the city would have been laid in ashes. But fortunately, thanks to the Police, Fire Department, and the bungling manner in which the plan was executed by the conspirators, it proved a complete and miserable failure.