A Carnival of Destruction

Sherman's Invasion of South Carolina

Non-Fiction - Military
580 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2012
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Author Biography

Historian Tom Elmore spend 15 years researching and writing “Carnival of Destruction: Sherman’s Invasion of South Carolina,” considered the most comprehensive history ever written on the subject. Elmore earned a B.A. in history and political science from the University of South Carolina. He is the author of "Columbia Civil War Landmarks," has been published in several national and regional publications and is also a frequent book reviewer for "Blue & Gray Magazine." Elmore has lectured on the Civil War throughout the southeast.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jean Brickell for Readers' Favorite

"A Carnival of Destruction" is a history of General Sherman's march through South Carolina in the winter of 1865. It was thought that the southern winters would be mild but the troops found cold and rain almost constantly. The Northern troops had to wade swamps and cross rivers with clothes that were almost never dry. To disable the railroads needed by Southern soldiers, the Federal troops would destroy the rails by twisting the heated rails so that they could not be used again. Sherman was confused as to what city he was going to take so that Confederate troops were too spread out. Sherman had issued orders for his troops not to destroy and burn property in Columbia but then did little to prevent it being done. Federal prisoners were freed and the drunken soldiers were free to destroy the city. The war ended with Lee surrendering to Grant. Days later Lincoln was shot in Washington. The war between the States was over.

"A Carnival of Destruction" is a remarkable historic rendition of the ending of the Civil War. Tom Elmore has done an exceptional job of writing a book that tells the story with personal letters and diaries of the people who lived through those perilous times. Official orders and military memories are also included. I found this book an unflinching account of the horrors inflicted by both sides and the civilians that suffered so terribly.