Ohio History Journal

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Marching Through South Carolina:

Marching Through South Carolina:

Another Civil War Letter

Of Lieutenant George M. Wise





Sherman's march through Georgia was accomplished. On De-

cember 20, 1864, General William J. Hardee retreated from

Savannah toward Charleston, and from Savannah in the middle of

January Sherman launched his campaign through the Carolinas with

an army of 60,000 marching in two broad columns. The march

through Georgia had been regarded as a picnic, but it was not

destined to be such in the Carolinas. Much of South Carolina was

poor country, which did not yield generously to forage. Much of

the ground to be traversed was swampy, and the march was begun

during the depth of winter. Unusual rains had inundated the low-

lands, and small streams had become formidable rivers.

The Forty-Third Ohio Regiment, in which Lieutenant George M.

Wise was an adjutant, was at this point a part of the Second

Brigade of the First Division in General Frank P. Blair's Seventeenth

Corps. The Seventeenth Corps and the Fifteenth Corps formed the

right wing of Sherman's army. On leaving Savannah, the right wing

made a feint in the direction of Charleston, while the left wing set

out, apparently, toward Augusta, Georgia; but both wings soon

converged--though generally maintaining a distance of from ten

to twenty miles from each other--and marched on Columbia, South

Carolina's capital, their planned objective. From Columbia the army

turned northeast--after a feint toward Charlotte, North Carolina--

first to Fayetteville, North Carolina, and then to Goldsboro, where


* Wilfred W. Black is professor of history at Grove City College, Grove City,

Pennsylvania. Fifteen of Lieutenant Wise's letters, edited by him, were published in

the January 1956 issue of the Quarterly, Volume LXV, pages 53-81.