The South Carolina State House, begun in 1855 and unfinished until after the Civil War, witnessed the Federal occupation of Columbia February 17-18, 1865. Union artillery batteries seeking to find their range fired on this building from across the Congaree River. Bronze stars mark the sites where these shells hit the state house. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's Federals also raised the United States flag over the unfinished building, looted the existing state house, and repealed the Ordinance of Secession. Several Civil War-related monuments are on the state house grounds.
On Feb. 2-3, 1865, during the final months of the Civil War, 1,200 Confederate soldiers made a stand here on the Salkehatchie River against Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's sweep across South Carolina.
This national cemetery was established in 1865 and is associated with the nearby Union prisoner of war camp, Florence Stockade, which held as many as 12,000 prisoners between September 1864 and February 1865.
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