Your Hometown Stories: Rivers Bridge Historic Site

 

In Ehrhardt, SC there lies a piece of history from the Civil War that is rare in South Carolina.

Rivers Bridge State Historic Site marks place where the Confederacy made one of its last stands. This is where troops tried to stop General William T. Sherman’s sweep across the South. Of all the Civil War Sites in South Carolina, the Battle of Rivers Bridge is the only one in the State Parks system that is home to a preserved battlefield.

On Feb. 2-3, 1865, during the final months of the Civil War, 1,200 Confederate soldiers made a stand here on the Salkehatchie River against Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Behind massive, earthen fortifications, which are still intact today, the Southerners fought a division of about 5,000 Union soldiers. Union troops crossed the swollen swamp on both ends of the Confederate line to finally win the battle. Even though it was short lived, its historic value is big.

“Compared to Antietam, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Shiloh, it was a very small battle but the confederates were badly outnumbered and they were only able to throw a few hundred soldiers at every river crossing and they knew that Sherman may come across at least 6 places on the Salkahatchie River.”

The battle lasted 2 days and the confederate soldiers weren’t just fighting the North. They were fighting Mother Nature.

“During the battle, it rained several hours and prior to that they had several weeks of ice and sleet”

The site also includes the Memorial Grounds.

Here, slain Confederate soldiers were buried and are remembered in memorial services that have been held annually since 1876.

A three quarter mile guided trail details the Battle of Rivers Bridge by way of interpretive panels along the trail. Ranger-guided tours are offered and it’s truly a sight to see.

“You can actually go to the back of the trenches and walk on a visitors platform were there were two cannons mounted during the battle and you can see what the confederate soldiers saw”

If you are a Civil War buff, this is one of the most unchanged battlefields in the Southeast and it’s in Your Hometown of Ehrhardt, SC. For your hometown stories, I’m John Lynn, WJBF, News Channel 6

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