The Civil War, Day by Day

War Is Hell (detail)


Sherman Begins the Carolina Campaign

The first state to secede, South Carolina was considered the heart of the Civil War - and a lasting symbol of rebellion. In the words of a Union infantryman, the North was now determined that “South Carolina, having sown the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.”

Sherman conducted his Carolina Campaign in a manner similar to his “March to the Sea.” He confounded the rebels by splitting his army into two columns - headed respectively toward Charleston and Augusta - before converging them in the direction of Columbia, the state’s capital. Sherman’s objective, other than winning Columbia itself, was “to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us.”

Through ice, bogs and muddy rivers, Sherman’s spirited soldiers accomplished that mission. They blazed their own trails where no roads existed, torching and looting homes along their path. Indeed, Sherman’s army caused even more destruction in South Carolina than in Georgia.

Thanks to Sherman’s determination, most of Columbia lay in ashes by mid-February. Even Joseph Johnson, a former Confederate commander, admitted that “there had been no such army in existence since the days of Julius Caesar.”





May's Archived Features:

Monday May 1, 2017
Tuesday May 2, 2017
Wednesday May 3, 2017
Thursday May 4, 2017
Friday May 5, 2017
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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2016. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.