Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size
Login

Military Photos



Online
There are 254 users online

You can register for a user account here.
Library of Congress

Military Quotes

When you put on a uniform there are certain inhibitions that you accept.

-- General Dwight D. Eisenhower

General Sherman sacks Columbia, South Carolina, February 17, 1865

(331 total words in this text)
(4999 Reads)  Printer-friendly page
The soldiers from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's army ransack Columbia, South Carolina, and leave a charred city in their wake.

Sherman is most famous for his "March to the Sea" in the closing months of 1864. After capturing Atlanta in September, Sherman cut away from his supply lines and cut a swath of destruction across Georgia on his way to Savannah. His army lived off the land and destroyed railroads, burned warehouses, and ruined plantations along the way. This was a calculated effort--Sherman thought that the war would end quicker if civilians of the South felt some destruction personally, a view supported by General Ulysses S. Grant, commander of all Union forces, and President Lincoln.

After spending a month in Savannah, Sherman headed north to tear the Confederacy into smaller pieces. The Yankee soldiers took particular delight in carrying the war to South Carolina, the symbol of the rebellion. It was the first state to secede and the site of Fort Sumter, where South Carolinians fired on the Federal garrison to start the war. When General Wade Hampton's cavalry evacuated Columbia, the capital was open to Sherman's men.

Many of the Yankees got drunk before starting the rampage. General Henry Slocum observed: "A drunken soldier with a musket in one hand and a match in the other is not a pleasant visitor to have about the house on a dark, windy night." Sherman claimed that the raging fires were started by evacuating Confederates and fanned by high winds. He later wrote: "Though I never ordered it and never wished it, I have never shed any tears over the event, because I believe that it hastened what we all fought for, the end of the War." Belatedly, some Yankees helped fight the fires, but more than two-thirds of the city was destroyed. Already choked with refugees from the path of Sherman's army, Columbia's situation became even more desperate when Sherman's army destroyed the remaining public buildings before marching out of Columbia three days later.
Military History
Forum Posts

Military Polls

Which of the following organizations has done the most to help you or others you know as a veteran?

[ Results | Polls ]

Votes: 47

This Day in History
1618: The Thirty Years War begins.

1862: Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson takes Front Royal, Virginia.

1864: The campaign between Union commander Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, continues southward to the North Anna River around Hanover Junction.

1900: Civil War hero Sgt. William H. Carney becomes the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor, thirty-seven years after the Battle of Fort Wagner.

1901: American forces capture Filipino rebel leader Emilio Aguinaldo.

1915: Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary.

1945: Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS, assistant chief of the Gestapo, and architect of Hitlers program to exterminate European Jews, commits suicide one day after being arrested by the British.

1951: Eighth Army advanced toward the Kansas and Wyoming Lines to the base of the Iron Triangle against stiffening enemy resistance. By the end of May, the communists had suffered 17,000 killed and an equal number were taken prisoner.

1971: North Vietnamese demolition experts infiltrate the major U.S. air base at Cam Ranh Bay.

1972: Heavy U.S. air attacks that began with an order by President Richard Nixon on May 8 are widened to include more industrial and non-military sites.