Paths of Destruction: Sherman’s Final Campaign
Through May 28, 2016
“Paths of Destruction: Sherman’s Final Campaign” details Sherman’s last effort to quell the Confederacy in his army’s march through South Carolina, the state that fired the first shots of the Civil War. Following the March to the Sea, Sherman gained permission from Grant to lead his troops through South Carolina beginning in early 1865, with the goal of decimating any and all military related buildings, organizations and personnel in an attempt to break the morale of the Confederates and bring the war to an end as soon as possible. This example of total war, with little differentiation between military and private entities, left a lasting impact on the Carolinas and, officially ending April 26, 1865, was one of the final campaigns of the war.
The exhibit focuses on the march’s impact on the people of South Carolina and its significance in the development of the concept of total war and the ethics involved by examining multiple aspects of the campaign. Artifacts include Union and Confederate weapons and accoutrements, ammunition, POW pieces, uniforms, excavated relics from locations along Sherman’s path, and flags. Highlights of the exhibit are a life-size diorama depicting Columbia in flames, audio segments of first-person accounts during the campaign, and a pre-and-post burned Columbia interactive map.