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"S" is for Sherman’s March

"S" is for Sherman’s March. This Union campaign is controversial because of the damage it wrought to civilian property. As he had in Georgia, General William Tecumseh Sherman hoped to destroy railroads, supplies, and morale. On February 1, 1865, he led his army of 60,000 men into South Carolina. On the 17th, Union forces entered Columbia. That night, one-third of the city was destroyed by fire. The Columbia conflagration was unusual only for its size. Barnwell, Orangeburg and other places along Sherman’s thirty mile-wide-path also suffered. Railroads and anything of military value were destroyed. Residents went hungry after losing food supplies to Confederate and Union foragers. After burning portions of Winnsboro, Camden, and Cheraw, Sherman ordered his army to behave less vindictively when it crossed into North Carolina at the beginning of March.

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