Eyewitnesses to General Sherman’s campaign and the burning of Columbia

Presented by Patricia McNeely.

General Sherman went to great lengths during the burning of Columbia, South Carolina to protect a friend whose family he had visited frequently while he was a bachelor stationed at Fort Moultrie between 1842 and 1846. The book and letters that Sherman sent to his friend along with an eyewitness account of his visits, finally and convincingly end the 150-year-old controversy about who burned Columbia. Admitting his strategy to destroy towns in his path rather than leaving occupying forces, Sherman said that he “had not wanted to burn the town, it was such a pretty place,” but “could leave no part” of his army to keep it. (Presentation lasts 35 to 45 minutes and includes a PowerPoint; a screen or blank wall will be needed.)

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