Special Report

US Cities and Towns Destroyed During the Civil War

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Rome, Georgia
> When: November 11, 1864

A center of manufacturing and rail transport, Rome became a major target for Union destruction. After a failed raid in May 1863, Union forces finally garrisoned the city in May 1864. Before Union troops abandoned the city later that year as they prepared to march east, they destroyed all usable infrastructure including foundries, mills, railroads, bridges, and factories.

Source: Archive Photos / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Atlanta, Georgia
> When: November 15, 1864

Prior to General Sherman’s march to the sea (known as the Savannah campaign), his troops burned the captured city of Atlanta. They destroyed over 3,000 buildings with the aim of cutting off Confederate supply lines. Despite not having orders to burn residences, Union soldiers began burning homes days before their departure to Savannah.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Griswoldville, Georgia
> When: November 21, 1864

This industrial village was the site of the Griswold and Grier Confederate revolver factory, which was housed in a converted cotton gin plant. During General Sherman’s march to the sea, Federal cavalry burned the gun factory, as well as a soap and candle factory, train cars loaded with supplies, and other industrial facilities.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

McPhersonville, South Carolina
> When: January 20, 1865

After capturing the city of Savannah, Georgia, General Sherman’s troops crossed into South Carolina, where they burned the village of McPhersonville, which contained many summer homes and a Presbyterian chapel. The church was spared from the flames, but the rest of the village was destroyed.

Source: Public Domain / University of South Carolina

Orangeburg, South Carolina
> When: February 12, 1865

On their way to destroy Columbia, the South Carolina capital, Federal troops under General Sherman reached Confederate forces at Orangeburg and began shelling the town. As rebel forces retreated, Union troops moved into the town and burned residences, businesses, and public buildings. About half the town was incinerated.

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