Reflections of Columbia, Part 2 - Civil War And Reconstruction | Carolina Stories


In 1860, roughly 60% of the population in Columbia were slaves. 60% of the gross economic capital in South Carolina was in human property. With the growing popularity of the Republican Party, and abolition, South Carolina chose to leave the Union, and on December 20th, 1860, South Carolina legislature voted unanimously to sign the Ordinance of Secession.

During the Civil War, Columbia became a major supply center for the Confederate military, and this made Columbia a prime target for the Northern troops. The economy in Columbia shifted to making weapons and supplies for soldiers, and in 1864, the city, along with the entire South, faced a financial crisis.

In February 1865, Columbia would face Northern wrath, when Union troops, led by General William Tecumseh Sherman, burned Columbia. Many buildings were destroyed as a result of the destruction.

After the war, during Reconstruction, Columbia’s economy faced a temporary building boom. Reconstruction also meant the end of slavery, and African-Americans outnumbered Whites two to one. African-Americans no longer wanted to attend the churches of their former slave owners, and as a result, many African-American churches were established during Reconstruction.