This Week in the Civil War - #1029
On Thursday, February 16, 1865 William Tecumseh Sherman’s Federals arrived at the south bank of the Congaree River opposite Columbia, South Carolina. Union artillery was directed against the handful of Confederate cavalry and civilians seen scurrying about the city’s streets. With Federal forces virtually surrounding Coumbia, Confederate General Pierre G.T. Beauregard left only after wiring Lee that he could not stop Sherman’s taking the city. The following day a delegation of city officials surrendered Coumbia to Sherman. Within hours, a devastating fire ravaged the city; some blamed drunken, former prisoners of war and freed Negroes for the conflagration. Sherman blamed Wade Hampton’s Confederate cavalry who had attempted to burn war supplies at the last minute to prevent their capture for the devastating fire that ravaged the city.