Night came upon the scene with a pale moon. Its silvery light seemed paler in light of the burning Congress. She burned slowly, and for hours the flames seemed to be playing with the huge vessel whose hull stood forth so massive and black.
Now a tongue of flame would spring from her portholes and spin up the long ropes to the furled sails. A spar would fall or a sail unfurled by the fire would fall over the side on fire. Again a great tongue of flame would spring aloft as the deck burned through, or a burning mast would fall. And during all this mournful conflagration, as all the guns were shotted, the fire would ignite the charge and some gun would fire sending a ball up or down the river. So slowly and almost regularly did these explosions occur that they seemed like signals of distress or that the noble vessel was firing her own death knell.