Sherman's March Through South Carolina

Gen. Sherman's march through South Carolina began in early January, 1865. By March 9th, his troops had passed out of the state into North Carolina - leaving behind a path of total destruction 100 miles wide and extending the entire length of the state.

Sherman's March Through South Carolina

Federal troop strength was 60,000 consisting of the 14th, 15th, 17th, and 20th Army Corps plus a Cavalry Corps of 4,000. The total Confederate troops involved were 33,400, although not all of them were available to defend the state in the early part of the campaign.

The campaign began in late November 1864, but due to the strong resistance by Gen. Wheeler's Cavalry, Sherman's first troops did not cross the river into South Carolina until 15 January 1865. He had reported to his superiors that he expected the Carolina march to last 4 to 5 weeks, but in fact it was late March before his troops passed out of South Carolina into North Carolina. He later reported that his march had not begun until the end of January.

In view of the destruction of property, the loss of life both to the Confederate and Federal armies, and the population at large was relatively light. In his report, the Surgeon for the Federal Forces, D. L. Huntington, puts their losses at 106 deaths and 697 wounded. A tally of the first hand accounts indicates a much higher number - something approaching 1,000 deaths.

Confederate casualties are unknown for this period. There is a report of some 200 civilians being massacred in the upstate above Columbia, and something less than 20 killed when Columbia was burned, but the records are virtually non-existent as Sherman burned virtually everything in his path. The tallies made by the federal officers indicate approx. 200 confederate troops died.

  • Bibliography for Research
  • Timeline of Sherman's March
  • Campaign Maps
  • Videos
  • 66 Days of Hell: An Account of Sherman's March Through South Carolina
  • A Federal account by Surgeon D. L. Huntington
  • A Federal account of the march by Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard<
  • A Federal account by Lt. Thomas J. Myers