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The Battle for the Salkehatchie
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Battle for the Salkehatchie


By John C. Rigdon

 

Battle for the Salkehatchie

The Battle For the Salkehatchie Covers those events which occurred in the lower portion of South Carolina in January and February, 1865.

Robertsville, Lawtonville, Lopers Crossroads, Barkers Mill, Salkehatchie River, McPhersonville, Hayward Plantation, Hickory Hill, Whippy Swamp, Ferguson's Branch, McBride's Bridge, Tennant's Branch, DuBoise Landing, Tobys Bluff, Roberts Ford, Broxton's Bridge, River's Bridge, Buford's Bridge, Fiddle Pond, Morris Ford, Springtown, Blackville, Barnwell, and Orangeburg.

Gen. Sherman's march through South Carolina began in late December, 1864. By March 9, 1865, his troops had passed out of the state into North Carolina - leaving behind a path of total destruction 100 miles wide and extending the entire length of the state.

The campaign began in late November 1864 even before the surrender of Savannah, but due to the strong resistance by Gen. Wheeler's Cavalry, Sherman's first troops did not cross the river into South Carolina until January 15, 1865.

The winter of 1865 was especially cold - one of the coldest ever on record - and wet - It rained, sleeted, or snowed practically the entire months of January and February. Charleston even had 2 inches of snow which stayed on the ground for over a week. The rain and snow from above, coupled with the low country swamps made it a "very cold day in hell" for Sherman's troops. Men climbed trees to sleep or stood knee deep in freezing water all night. Many of the men were found dead from the cold in the mornings.

"Again at the hospital I see the horrid results of every battle. Men mutilated in every shape conceivable, groaning, begging for assistance and gasping in death. Many of our wounded will have to lie all night in that horrid swamp, it being impossible to find them and carry them out on the narrow foot bridge that has been made. Many have had their heads propped up out of the water where they lay to keep them from drowning."

Lt. Col. Oscar L. Jackson, 63rd Ohio Infantry,
after the Battle of Rivers Bridge, February 2-3, 1865