Columbia Commemorates: 150th Anniversary of the Burning of Columbia


Media Contact:
Carrie Phillips
803.252.7742 x 17

WHO:    The Honorable Mayor Steve Benjamin, City of Columbia
Eric Emerson, PhD, Director, SC Department of Archives & History
John Dozier, Historic Columbia Board of Trustees
Mary Bentz Gilkerson, One Columbia for Arts & History Public Art Administrator
Bill Ellen, President & CEO, Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism

WHAT: This media event will serve as a kick off to a city-wide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Burning of Columbia during the Civil War.

WHEN: Friday, December 5, 2014
10 a.m.

WHERE: Corner of Main & Gervais Streets in downtown, Columbia, S.C.

WHY: The burning of Columbia, S.C. was a major event in American history and the Civil War 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, the city suffered widespread destruction. The legacy of this physical loss is a pillar of the city’s common folklore and memories of the Civil War, and it remains hotly-debated today.

NOTE: There will be multiple photo-ops following the announcement, as well as opportunities to speak with the individuals and more than 20 organizations involved with this commemoration.

About Columbia Commemorates:
Columbia Commemorates is a multi-disciplinary coalition comprised of Midlands and statewide organizations formed to plan and implement a city-wide commemoration of this pivotal event. Through lectures; tours; film; visual, literary and performing arts; exhibits; public discussion; and large public gatherings, Columbia Commemorates will explore the events of February 17, 1865, as well as the immediate and long-term ramifications of the burning of South Carolina’s capital city.