South Carolina in 1865
The year 1865 brought an end to the war in America, but it also ended a civilization that had existed for nearly two centuries in South Carolina. Plantations, churches, farms, factories and whole villages and towns were pillaged and burned by General William T. Sherman's army, and a once thriving and wealthy state was reduced to poverty. While Columbia burned, besieging Union troops swept in and occupied the undefended city of Charleston, which Sherman called "a mere desolated wreck," and then launched raids into the surrounding countryside, including the rich plantation lands of Berkeley County. The surviving records of this period are numerous and revealing, and author Karen Stokes presents many of the eyewitness accounts and memoirs of those who lived through it.