The courthouse in the center of town was on fire, the railroad depot was ordered torched. Several businesses were destroyed in perhaps the most chaotic and frightening night in Orangeburg’s history.
It was Feb. 12, 1865 when Union Gen. William Sherman’s 17th Army Corps, one of four corps sweeping across the Palmetto State, entered Orangeburg after forcing a few hundred defenders from the banks of the Edisto River.
Sherman passed orders to destroy the railroad from Orangeburg to the Congaree River. All cotton was to be burned.
In the chaos, a prominent Orangeburg residence was spared the flames: Judge Glover’s home.
The residence that originally faced Russell Street was the home of Thomas Worth Glover, a lawyer, state legislator and circuit court judge. Along with three others from Orangeburg, Glover was also an original signer of the South Carolina Ordinance of Session in 1860.
Glover was born on Christmas Eve, 1796 in Goose Creek. While a teacher in 1817, he studied law, eventually being named to the Orangeburg bar. He served in the state legislature until 1852, when he was elected a circuit court judge.
It was during his tenure in the legislature that he built the home that now faces Whitman Street. Completed in 1846, the two-story home is of a style called “plantation,” a conservative form of structure along the lines of Federal architecture.
As war clouds spread across the nation in the 1850s, Glover would add his name along with the 168 other delegates to sign the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession on Dec. 20, 1860. Gen. David Jamison, a neighbor, brother-in-law and president of the Secession Convention, later assigned Glover to a committee tasked with writing a new state constitution.
The war saw brilliant victories for the South early on. But the Southern states weren’t prepared for a war of attrition, which brought the conflict to the streets of Orangeburg on a cold February night.
Historians say Glover’s second wife, Louisa D. (Carrere) Wilson, may have been Sherman’s only defeat in Orangeburg. Acquainted with the Union general prior to the war, the lady of the house reminded Sherman he acted like a gentleman when they met in Charleston and she expected him to continue to behave that way.
The Glover home was one of the few that, while sustaining damage, still stood after the invading forces departed.
Judge Glover died in Orangeburg 19 years after that confrontation in his living room between the Union army and his wife. At the time of his death, he was dean of South Carolina College, having been in the legal profession for more than 64 years.
Contact the writer: 803-533-5516 and rwalker@timesanddemocrat. Follow Walker on Twitter at @RWalkerTandd for insight on the cops beat.