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86 THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD.

daily newspapers, banks, dry-goods houses, warehouses, and the comfortable and well-built homes of twelve thousand people. In the contemplation of the irresistible force of that awful flood, gathering additional momentum as it swept on toward the Gulf, it became clear that the city must be destroyed, and that unless the inhabitants had telegraphic notice of the breaking of the reservoir they must perish. A cry of horror went up from the hundreds on the mountain-side, and a few instinctively turned their steps toward Johnstown. The city was destroyed. All the mills, furnaces, manufactories, the many and varied industries, the banks, the residences, all, all were swallowed up before the shadows of the night had settled down upon the earth. Those who came back by daybreak said that from five thousand to eight thousand had been drowned. Our hope is that this is an exaggeration, and when the roll is called most will respond. In the light of this calamity, the destruction at Conemaugh sinks into insignificance."
    Mr. George Johnston, a lumber merchant of Pittsburg, was another witness. "I had gone to Johnstown, "he says, "to place a couple of orders. I had scarcely reached the town, about three o'clock in the afternoon, when I saw a bulletin posted up in front of the telegraph office, around which quite a crowd of men had congregated. I


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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen