Hampton's numbers were nowhere near the vast amount of men the Union showed up with on 17 February 1865. He only had about 500, whereas the Union was forging through with 98,355. Hampton's best option was to retreat and avoid massacre. However, before leaving, Hampton and his men set fire to bridges to delay the Union. By the time the Union arrived, much of Columbia had been burned due to the Confederates lighting cotton bales on fire.