During the Civil War, there were not many battles fought in South Carolina. While most people remember Fort Sumter at the beginning of the war and General Sherman's grand tour of the state toward its end, there was at least one battle. That was the battle of Rivers Bridge, fought on the Saklahatchie River near Ehrhardt, S.C., about 10 miles from Bamberg.
Today, the Rivers Bridge State Historic Site preserves the only Civil War battlefield in South Carolina.
The battle was fought on February 2-3, 1865 between 5000 union troops and 1200 Confederates. While the Confederates held the high ground , they were no match for the Union troops. The Union victory paved the way for the fall of Columbia two weeks later and the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Va. on April 9, 1865.
The Site is part of the South Carolina State Park System. The park is in two parts, the battlefield itself and a memorial area.
The battlefield has a 3/4 of a mile interpretive trail featuring wayside signage pointing out various facets of the battle. The trail also runs alongside the Saklahatchie River. The Memorial area features a small Confederate cemetery as well as a small cemetery for those killed in World War II. There are also two private cemeteries in this area. A picnic shelter is also available.
Be advised that Rivers Bridge is a remote location and visitors would be advised to bring a picnic lunch. Bamberg, about 10 miles away, does have some food choices available. Rivers Bridge is about an hour and 45 minute drive from Columbia.
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