Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size
Login

Military Photos



Online
There are 238 users online

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

Military Quotes

Bravery without forethought causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull. Such an opponent must not be encountered with brute force, but may be lured into an ambush and slain.

-- Ts`ao Kung

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

(331 total words in this text)
(4790 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

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

[ Results | Polls ]

Votes: 111

This Day in History
1836: Texan Colonel William Travis sends a desperate plea for help for the besieged defenders of the Alamo, ending the message with the famous last words, "Victory or Death."

1864: Union General George Thomas attacks Joseph Johnstons Confederates near Dalton, Georgia, as the Yankees probe Johnstons defenses in search of a weakness.

1944: Maj. Gen. Frank Merrills guerrilla force, nicknamed "Merrills Marauders," begin a campaign in northern Burma.

1945: U.S. forces liberate prisoners of war in the Los Ba?os Prison in the Philippines.

1952: The U.S. 40th Infantry Division launched the largest tank raid since the beginning of the Korean War. It was the largest deployment of armor without infantry support in a single engagement during the war.

1991: General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the coalition army, sends in ground forces during the Gulf War.