Relive history with "Columbia's Longest Day"
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 11:30 AM by Paige Cooper
Having successfully completed his march to the sea by capturing Savannah in December of 1864, Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman planned his invasion of South Carolina. His target was Columbia, the state capital where the secession movement began and considered by Sherman's generals to the be a richer prize and more important capture than any city in the South. On January 30, 1865, Sherman's 65,000-man army launched the invasion moving ten to twelve miles a day, burning a swath sixty miles wide in grim determination readily viewed as retribution. An abundance of alcohol greeted the Union army as it entered Columbia on February 17, 1865. Vengeful attitude fueled by drunkenness culminated in the looting and burning of the city--an act described by a Union war correspondent as "the most monstrous barbarity of the barbarous march." Visit http://www.shermansmarch.com/ for a video documentary of first-hand accounts of Sherman's March to Columbia and the burning of the city.
In commemoration of General Sherman's March to the Sea through Columbia and the burning of the city, a full day of fun activities for all ages will begin with Union canon firing once again upon the South Carolina State House. Join the troops as a spectator from the West Columbia River Walk and Amphitheater on Alexander Road (next to the Gervais Street Bridge).
Schedule of events: Saturday, February 19, 2011
8:45 am- Reenactment of the Firing on Columbia
Union troops fire on the State House at the same time and location as on February 15, 1865 (the West Columbia side of the Gervais Street Bridge)
9:00 am- 4:00 pm- Civil War Expo
(Atrium of the Columbia Mills Building which houses the South Carolina State Museum and the Confederate Relic room and Military Museum, 301 Gervais Street)
-Artillery and infantry encampments outside The State Museum with demonstrations at the top of every hour
-Displays and interactives from local historical agencies
-Free Civil War artifact appraisals by Walter Slocum
9:00-4:00 Tom Elmore, Columbia Civil War Landmarks
9:00-4:00 Aliene Shields, A Legacy of a Common Civil War Soldier: Private Thomas Marion Shields 11:00-1:00 David Aiken, A City Laid Waste: The Capture, Sack, and Destruction of the City of Columbia
12:00-2:00 Tom Moore Craig, Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War Letters of the Anderson, Brockman, and Moore Families, 1853-1865
1:00-3:00 Robert K. Ackerman, Wade Hampton III
State Museum Programs:
11:00 and 3:00- David Brinkman, Finding Sherman's Broad River Bridge
10:30, 1:30, 3:30- C.S.S. Hunley Presentation by Dan Downey
1:30 Showing of Ken Burn's Civil War documentary "Forever Free"
SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum Programs:
9:30 Burning of Columbia (Historic Columbia Foundation)
11:30 Confederate Monuments and Cemeteries of South Carolina (Kristina Dunn Johnson)
*Book signings to follow at museum
1:30 Calvary Stories of the Carolinas Campaign (Joe Long)
2:30 Kilpatrick and the Burning of Lexington (Dean Hunt)
Reenactments and events in the atrium are all free to the public. A joint ticket is available for all events at The State Museum and Confederate Relic Room for $9.
About:The Greater Columbia Civil War Alliance sponsors the annual event that commemorates General Sherman's March to Columbia and the burning of the City of Columbia. February 19 2011 will mark the 6th annual Columbia's Longest Days and promises a day of activities for all ages. The Greater Columbia Civil War Alliance is composed of a number of historic preservation associations. The alliance is dedicated to the promotion of civil war history in the Greater Columbia area.