From the Richmond Whig, 9/27/1861

PANIC AT THE CARTRIDGE FACTORY. - Yesterday morning, about 9 o’clock, a pile of rubbish in the yard attached to the “Confederate Laboratory,” on Byrd street, near the Petersburg Depot, took fire, as is supposed, from a spark from a passing locomotive, and as the pile contained a small quantity of powder, swept at different times from the floors of the building, the combustion was very rapid, ad somewhat alarming. At all events, it spread consternation among the two or three hundred women and girls employed at the “Laboratory” in making cartridges, and a stampede from the building took place. Fortunately, the fire was soon extinguished, and the operatives returned to their work, though, we dare say, some of them were so badly frightened that they will be disposed to seek some other mode of earning a livelihood. It matters not how careful the managers of the “Laboratory” may be, it is a dangerous place, filled as it is with powder, and surrounded by furnaces, forges and steam engines. We adhere to the opinion, expressed some time ago, that the labor employed in making cartridges should be divided, so that in the event of an explosion, the loss of life would not be so great. It is risking too much to congregate several hundred people in one building, exposed, as this is, to the possibility of a grand blow up.