At the end of the Civil War, both of South Carolina's major cities lay in ruins. Even as Sherman approached Columbia, another branch of his army occupied Charleston. The accidental explosion of a stockpile of Confederate powder near the Cooper River, and a fire begun by the burning of the Ashley River Bridge on February 17th and 18th, destroyed areas of the city not already burned in 1861. Here, the ruins of the Mills House stand guard over a desolate city.
Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.