After the city’s surrender to General Sherman on February 17, 1865, Union soldiers and sympathizers indulged in a night of arson and pillage fueled by alcohol and the euphoria of victory.

Major General

William T. Sherman

February 8, 1820 - February 14, 1891

Portrait by Mathew Brady

Rebirth & Reconstruction

Columbia Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Burning of Columbia

The burning of Columbia, SC was a major event in American history and a defining moment in the history of the state and city. Columbia, the site of the original Secession Convention and capital of the first seceding state, was seen by the Union army as a special political target to encourage the surrender of the remaining Confederate forces.

Columbia surrendered to the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman on February 17, 1865, and while the soldiers’ arrival signaled the imminent emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the city

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