HBF lecture series: SC civilians in Sherman’s path

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Personal experiences of the final blow of defeat to the citizens of South Carolina in 1865 will be discussed by archivist Karen Stokes of the South Carolina Historical Society at the Verdier House Dinner & A Lecture series, Monday, September 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Verdier House, 801 Bay Street.

An army of over 60,000 Union troops led by Gen. William T. Sherman swept through South Carolina as the Civil War was in its final months and the motivation of the attack was to punish the state where the seeds of secession grew to full blossom. Hundreds of affected residents recorded their harrowing experiences in letters, diaries, memoirs and newspaper accounts, much of which is corroborated by the testimony of Sherman’s officers and soldiers.

Stokes brings these stories together in “South Carolina Civilians in Sherman’s Path: Stories of Courage Amid Civil War Destruction” and will share them in her lecture. Many of the accounts offer a graphic depiction of the destruction that changed South Carolina forever.

Stokes, who has worked with the manuscript collection at the Historical Society for over 15 years, has published numerous articles on South Carolina history. She will provide copies of her book for sale and will sign them at the event.

Lectures are scheduled for October 26, “When South Carolina was an Armed Camp: The Reconstruction Essays of Belton O’Neal Townsend,” by historian Stephen Hoffius, and for November 18, “State of the Heart: SC Writers on the Places They Love,” by editor/writer Aida Rodgers.

“Dinner and a Lecture” is open to HBF members and non-members; the lecture series features a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, 5:30 – 6 p.m. The program is 6 to 7 p.m. followed by audience questions. Admission to the lecture is $15/$25 per member/member couple respectively, and $20/$30 per non-member/non-member couple respectively. Seating is limited; call 379-3331 to make reservations. A three-course dinner at Saltus River Grill is offered at $19 per person for attendees at the lecture. Call Saltus at 379-3474 to make reservations.