Front: With four years of formal schooling he entered the College of Charleston at age 10. Dabbled in translating Latin, French, German and Spanish. Studied materia medica, published poetry, edited a magazine, married at 20 and was admitted to the bar at 21. He was a prodigious historian, poet, journalist, editor and literary master and was read worldwide. Celebrated as a Southern genius, his fortunes turned after his home, library and papers were looted and burned by Sherman’s troops. His work, The Capture, Sack & Destruction of the City of Columbia, was his last.
Back: “All houses which had been left vacant were first robbed then destroyed; and where the families still ventured to remain, they were, in most instances, so tortured by insult, violence, robbery and all manner of brutality, that flight became necessary, and the burning of the dwelling soon followed…Hardly had the troops reached the head of Main Street, when the work of Pillage was begun. Stores were broken open…the contents, when to cumbersome for the plunderers, were cast into the streets. Gold and silver, jewels and liquors, were eagerly sought. The authorities, officers, soldiers, all, seemed to consider it a matter of course.” – The Capture Sack & Destruction of the City of Columbia by William Gilmore Simms