Gambles-Hotel-1862-Florence-SCThe Gambles Hotel in Florence SC, the site of the skirmish between Union Calvary and Confederate forces on March 5th, 1865. Photo taken c. 1860.

The Florence Historical Society and the Florence County Museum to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Federal raid on Florence during the American Civil War with a lecture on Sherman’s march and the raid on Florence by noted Civil War historian and authority on Sherman’s march Dr. Stephen R. Wise. Dr. Wise’s lecture will help put the raid on Florence into the larger context of Sherman’s March—its strategic objectives and the general course of the “end game” of the War in the Winter and Spring of 1865.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Wise to Florence to help put the raid of March 5, 1865 into a larger historical perspective,” said Ben Zeigler, President of the Florence Historical Society, the oldest historical organization in Florence County, which is sponsoring the event along with the Florence County Museum. “Although small and not terribly significant in the grand scheme of things, it was the only time that actual fighting touched us here, and provides a window into the concerns and objectives that drove the fighting into the ‘home front’ at the War’s end,” he added. Florence County Museum Director, Andrew Stout agrees, noting that the raid is a significant event in the history of the Florence community, and will compliment and be complimented by the Museum’s exhibits and other material relating to Civil War subjects such as the Florence Stockade and the CSS Pedee.

Event Details

What: Lecture on the subject of local Civil War history
Who: Guest Speaker, Dr. Stephen R. Wise, Florence County Historical Society
Where: Florence County Museum, 111 West Cheves Street, Florence SC
When: 6:30pm, March 5, 2015
Cost: Admission is free to the public
Contact: For more information please contact:Andrew Stout, Director, Florence County Museum (843) 676-1210 or Benjamin T. Zeigler, President, Florence Historical Society (843) 673-5304

About the Federal Raid in Florence
On March 5, 1865 Union Cavalry attempted a raid on the small railroad village of Florence, South Carolina in an effort to destroy rolling stock and other supplies there. After a dramatic chase of a locomotive into the village and a clash that has become known as “The Skirmish at Gambles Hotel,” the Union cavalry was driven back by Confederate forces and failed to obtain its objective. A Confederate victory, but far too little and too late, as Sherman’s Union Army, having burned Atlanta and Columbia and cut a swath of general destruction through the middle of South Carolina, continued its march into North Carolina, where the Confederate Army of the Tennessee would surrender some six weeks later.

About the Guest Speaker
Dr. Stephen R. Wise is director of the Parris Island Museum and the Cultural Resource Manager for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot located at Parris Island, South Carolina. He also serves as an adjunct history professor for the University South Carolina Beaufort.

He has written and edited a number of works including Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War and Gate of Hell: The Campaign for Charleston Harbor 1863, which was named by the South Carolina Historical Society as the best book written in 1994 on South Carolina History. A well-known lecturer Dr. Wise has appeared on the Arts and Entertainment Channel, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel as well as appearing in various British Broadcasting Company and South Carolina Education Television and Radio productions. He wrote the screen narrative for the Gilded Age Productions film American Iliad: The Siege of Charleston, a docufilm on the Civil War in the Charleston area.

In 1996 Dr. Wise was awarded the Department of the Navy’s Cultural Resources Management Award for individual excellence and his cultural resources programs have won three Department of the Navy and one Department of Defense awards for excellence. He has three times received the USC Beaufort adjunct faculty member of the year, and in 2013 he received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the humanities that defines South Carolina’s cultural life. Sixty-five individuals and organizations have received awards from 1991-2013.