By the early weeks of 1865 the Union Army removed all resistance in the Shenandoah Valley. General William Sherman and his army moved north through South Carolina. On 17th February, Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, was taken. Columbia was virtually burnt to the ground and some people claimed the damage was done by Sherman's men and others said it was carried out by the retreating Confederate Army.
On 1st April Philip H. Sheridan attacked at Five Forks. The Confederates, led by Major General George Pickett, were overwhelmed and lost 5,200 men. On hearing the news, Robert E. Lee decided to abandon Richmond.