Burning of Columbia | Palmetto Heritage


This reenactment is based on excerpts from Emma LeConte’s diary. Emma, then seventeen years old, kept a diary for several months in 1865 chronicling the approach, occupation and burning of the city of Columbia by General Sherman's troops. On February 16, Sherman issued an order giving instructions for the occupation of Columbia. The Confederate forces in South Carolina were no match for Sherman's troops and upon his approach Columbia's Mayor Goodwyn surrendered the city. Panic and confusion, however, reigned. By the morning hours of February 17 much of the city was in flames, accompanied by a riot that had built steadily so that most control was lost over the city. By February 18,1865 over one third of the city lay in black, burnt ruins.