Of Old Wine, Fine Rugs, and the Necessity of Stealing Books

March 5, 1865 (Sunday) The end of February saw William Tecumseh Sherman’s army turn towards Cheraw, where Confederate General William Hardee had rested his men in retreat. As March came, Sherman’s forces divided, and the Seventeenth Corps, followed closely by the Fifteenth, entered the town on the 2nd. “General Hardee had retreated eastward across heRead More

Johnston Back in Command – Feeling Hopeless

February 25, 1865 (Saturday) Joe Johnston was not meant to be a savior. He had served better than most through the war, but had lost command of both the Army of Northern Virginia in 1862 and the Army of Tennessee in 1864. Now, with P.G.T. Beauregard about to collapse from exhaustion, he was placed inRead More

Of Realism and Optimism in Confederate Richmond

February 23, 1865 (Thursday) For the Southern command, this was not a day for optimism. Sherman’s army was steamrolling through South Carolina, slashing and consuming a swath before them. Wilmington, North Carolina had fallen, and there seemed to be nothing at all that could stop Sherman from uniting with Grant. But still, through this, GeneralRead More

‘Lit Up with the Lurid Hue of a Conflagration’ – Columbia Burns

February 17, 1865 (Friday) George Stone’s Fifteenth Corps brigade had been selected to first cross the Broad River and enter Columbia, South Carolina’s capital city. Before dawn, they were ready. As there was no bridge, they had to be ferried over in boats. The first two, departing just before 4am, were loaded full with sharpshooters.Read More

Sherman Prepares to Enter Columbia

February 16, 1865 (Thursday) Only the Congare River separated General Sherman’s four corps from the city of Columbia, the smouldering remains of Lexington to their back. Before them was a burned out bridge, and cavalry could be seen in the streets of the city. Unable to immediately cross, Captain Francis De Gress unlimbered two piecesRead More

Charleston to Be Evacuated!

February 15, 1865 (Wednesday) The day previous, General P.G.T. Beauregard arrived in Charleston. With William Hardee, the general commanding the city and Fort Sumter, he formulated the plan to evacuate both. “The holding of Charleston,” wrote Beauregard in his orders detailing the evacuation, “is now reduced to only a question of a few days. ItsRead More

The Confederates Finally Gather in Columbia

February 13, 1865 (Monday) The race was now on. Sherman’s Federals were almost certainly moving upon Columbia, and P.G.T. Beauregard was doing everything possible to concentrate any troops he could find before that city. General Carter Stevenson, whose Confederates had been ousted out of Orangeburg the day previous, was falling back to Columbia rather thanRead More

Wading with ‘Cheerfulness and Enthusiasm’ – Sherman Enters Orangeburg

February 12, 1865 (Sunday) “I have just returned from Orangeburg and Branchville,” wrote General William Hardee to President Davis. Hardee commanded the Confederates defending Charleston, and was overseeing the lines along the Edisto River to the west. There, Generals Lafayette McLaws and Carter Stevenson held their own. It was believed, continued Hardee, that the FederalsRead More

‘Please Answer at Once’ – Charleston to Be Abandoned Already?

February 11, 1865 (Saturday) Even this late in the march, the Confederates in South Carolina were confused as to whether William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces were moving on the westerly Augusta, the easterly Charleston, or Columbia, in the middle. “The indications suggest Charleston as the objective point,” wrote President Jefferson Davis to William Hardee, commanding inRead More

Henry Slocum’s Guide to Destroying Railroads

February 8, 1865 (Wednesday) General Sherman’s troops had been on the march in earnest for just over a week. Already, they had fallen upon the railroad linking Charleston and Augusta, cutting each Confederate stronghold off from the other. As Henry Slocum’s Seventeenth Corps neared the railroad, he deployed the leading division in line of battle,Read More