Sparks and fire flew out of telegraph office equipment. The sky turned crimson as if on fire.
There was a flash of light observed coming from a couple of spots on the sun and mere hours later shock wave hit the Earth.
The Geomagnetic fluctuations caused inductive current in the telegraph lines stretched out across the country that shocked telegraph workers, caused sparks to be emitted by their keys and papers to catch fire.
This was not the only effect. That night the Aurora was so bright that birds woke up and started singing (Sadly there was a train engineer awake in Bealton, Virginia also awake and he proceeded to shoot some birds for their ill timed warbling). A group of Masons got up and went to work laying bricks in Abbeville, South Carolina until they realized what the hour was and then they went back to bed.
The storm is known as the fastest storm recorded in history as it only took 17 hours from the initial flash for the shock wave to hit. Scientists took ice core samples and determined that this was the largest such event in the last 500 years. If a storm of this magnitude occurred today then the damage would be a staggering 1 to 2 trillion dollars.