On this day in 1865: As Raleigh awaits Sherman, Union Lt. George Round is sent ahead to set up a Signal Corps flag station. Scaling the eerily empty Capitol, Round makes a crucial misstep: “I … leaped gently to what I supposed to be the solid top of the dome,” he will write later. “I heard a sudden crash, and the top of the dome gave way beneath my feet. I had actually jumped into the circular glass skylight….
“The next instant I found myself grasping at railing and stonework and heard the broken glass of the skylight ring sharply on the stone floor of the rotunda one hundred feet below me.”
Round’s fall is broken by a wire net, and he survives with only “a terrible fright, a lacerated wrist and, on the next day, a lame shoulder.”