The troops billeted in the Capitol caused many inconveniences, but the greatest damage to the building itself was caused by the installation of the Army bakery in the basement of the building. Because the Capitol was one of the few Washington structures with a plentiful supply of gas lines, twenty bread ovens were installed, and by early 1862 the bakery was in operation round the clock, producing 58,000 loaves of bread daily. Smoke and soot from this operation damaged marble mantels, chandeliers and furniture throughout the Capitol. Located directly beneath the Library of Congress, many of the smoke flues attached to the bake ovens were mistakenly run directly into the hot air flues that warmed the library.

Galleries Under the Senate Chamber Converted into Granaries and Bread Ovens in the Basement of the Capitol, Washington D.C.  
Harper’s Weekly Volume V, Number 230, Page 326
May 25, 1861

Great National Bakery for the Federal Army, in the Basement of the Capitol, Washington, DC
Frank Leslie and Louis Shepheard Moat, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Famous Leaders and Battles of the Civil War
(New York: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896), 407.

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