"It is true our men have burned Columbia, but it was your fault."
General William T. Sherman to Mayor Thomas Jefferson Goodwyn, blaming Columbians for making his soldiers drunk.
"I know that the general judgement of the country is that no matter how it began, it was all right."
Sherman in a letter to his brother.
"[W]ithout hesitation I charge General Wade Hampton with having burned his own city of Columbia."
Sherman in his official report.
"In my official report of this conflagration, I distinctly charged it to General Wade Hampton, and confess I did so pointedly, to shake the faith of his people in him, for he was in my opinion boastful, and professed to be the special champion of South Carolina."
Sherman in his memoirs.
General Hampton - "General Howard, who burned Columbia?"
General Oliver O. Howard - "Why, General, of course we did."
"The real difference between Savannah and Columbia was that Sherman needed the Georgia port as a base. Columbia was merely a stopover in a general swath of destruction. Sherman had no more use for Columbia than he had for Atlanta, a city he had burned in 1864 to cover his rear .... Sherman may have issued no order [to burn Columbia] but his failure to control his men constituted probable tacit consent."
Allan D. Charles, Ph.D.
"There is no doubt whatsoever that Union soldiers were to blame for what happened, some with intent, others by default in their drunken stupor."
John Hammond Moore, Ph.D.