The Rivers Bridge Confederate Memorial Association observed the 143rd Annual Commemoration of Confederate Memorial Day on Friday May 10, 2019
at the Memorial Grounds at Rivers' Bridge State Historic Site near Ehrhardt, SC. The program began at 10:00 a.m. with a prelude of period music by
Dr. Jim Dreyfuss and was followed at 11:00 by commemorative activities in memory of the Confederate soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of
Rivers' Bridge in February 1865. A very informative Memorial Speech was given by former Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. It was inspiring indeed.
The patriotic program was followed by a solemn ceremony of wreaths being placed on the graves of the soldiers from the War Between the States and
other military veterans that are also buried in the Memorial Grounds. The program concluded with rifle and cannon salutes from uniformed
Following the ceremonies, a BBQ dinner on the grounds by B & D Barbecue was available for purchase. The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room
and Military Museum presented an exhibit at the Rivers Bridge Community Building. Many of those attending the Memorial Service took advantage of
this opportunity to visit the Relic Room's display.
|143rd Rivers Bridge Confederate
Memorial Day Observance
May 10, 2019
|A Brief Overview of Rivers Bridge Camp No. 842 History
Rivers Bridge Camp #842 was first chartered on April 14, 1917. The Camp remained active until 1944. By then World
War II had called many if not most of its members into military service. The Camp's first officers were as follows: R.
E. Kenny, Commander; William Harter, First Lieutenant Commander; Malcolm O'Neal, 2nd Lieutenant Commander;
Fred O'Neal, Adjutant; Albert Youmans, Surgeon; Doc Sanders, Chaplain; Harry Lancaster, Color Sergeant; Connor
Fennell, Treasurer; Raymond Hammond, Quartermaster; William Youmans, Historian. Rivers Bridge Camp #842
met on the 1st Monday evening of each month in a member's home.
Interest began to develop in mid 1994 to re-charter Camp #842. SC Division First Lieutenant Commander Bill Bushall
and Wade Hampton Camp #273 Commander Brett Bradshaw were instrumental in reforming the Camp. D. Kenny
Cone and M.G. (Mickey) Smith were members of the Wade Hampton Camp, and through their hard work combined
with the leadership of Bushall and Bradshaw, Rivers Bridge Camp #842 was reborn. The initial meeting took place on
August 9, 1994. Ten people joined at that first meeting. Within five months membership had grown to over 100
Rivers Bridge Camp #842 re-chartered on January 28, 1995 with 123 Members. At that time, it was the greatest
number of members to ever re-charter a camp. M.G. (Mickey) Smith was the reborn Camp's first Commander.
M.G. (Mickey) Smith, 1995-1996
Edward S. Floyd, Sr. 1997 -1998
Joseph V. Braxton, II 1998-1999
William E. Moody, Sr. 2000-2002
Joseph V. Braxton, II 2003-2009
Of the many heritage projects that the Camp supports, we are probably most proud of our co-sponsorship, along with
the Rivers Bridge Memorial Association, of Confederate Memorial Day observances at Rivers Bridge State Historical
Site each May. Prior to Camp #842’s involvement, the Memorial Service at Rivers Bridge was dwindling each year
and seemed destined to be forgotten. Interest has been renewed and we now host hundreds of people each year at
Confederate Memorial Day ceremonies at Rivers Bridge. It is both a solemn and joyous occasion with a good speaker,
good friends and good barbecue. Oh yes, and a big oak barrel full of Coleman Loadholt’s famous lemonade.
Since we have a great attachment to Rivers Bridge State Historical Site, we do what we can to enhance it. The Camp
conducted research to identify as many of those interred in the mass grave as possible. This was done so that
Confederate grave markers could be placed for each one thus identified. After the markers were erected, the
cemetery was cleaned, and the surrounding wrought ironwork was repaired and painted. The Camp then placed three
flag poles near the mass grave and there the flags of the United States, South Carolina and the Confederate Navy
Jack fly each day.
Another of the projects that gave Camp #842 Compatriots great satisfaction for many years was helping to facilitate
the battle reenactment at Rivers Bridge each January. It was challenging work at times, but it was looked upon as
an educational tool and was done in memory of those who had to endure the real thing so long ago.
The Camp has donated many thousands of dollars toward the restoration of Confederate Flags, unit flags, the uniform
coat of General Micah Jenkins, and many other worthy causes through such fine organizations as the Confederate
Relic Room and Military Museum.
Rivers Bridge participates in many parades with our float built by Camp members. We quite often have the
collaboration of the fine ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy or Order of the Confederate Rose.
Rivers Bridge was the first camp to establish a Camp Life Membership in which 36 members are presently
The Camp has placed a number of state historical markers and we have plans to do more in the future.
We maintain Confederate Flags and markers at the crossing of US 301 over the Edisto River in Orangeburg in
commemoration of those who opposed the crossing of the Edisto by Federal troops in 1865. We also maintain flags at
the intersection of US 301 and US 321 at Buford’s Bridge to memorialize the crossing there and the resulting
destruction of the village of Buford's Bridge. There is also a marker in memory of Captain William Tate Speaks, Jr.,
who was killed in the Battle of Pocotaligo in 1862.
|Peter D. Boineau
|History Of Rivers Bridge Confederate Memorial Association
The Rivers Bridge Confederate Memorial Association, first known as the Rivers Bridge Monumental and Memorial
Association, was formed in 1876 when local men decided to re-inter Confederate remains in a mass grave located at
what was once the little settlement of Rivers Bridge. A store and a post office were said to have been located at this
place, operated by a Rivers family.
The grave was placed near the site of Enon Christian Church, destroyed by Federal troops in the occupation of the
area in February, 1865. The church did not rebuild at Rivers Bridge, but relocated to another site.
The twenty charter members of the Rivers Bridge Confederate Memorial Association set the annual meeting date for
the Friday closest to May 10, the day General Stonewall Jackson died. Its first president was Dr. Robert C. Brabham.
In 1955 the program was dedicated to Frank O. Brabham, the last man present when the Confederate dead were
moved from scattered graves to the present location.
John D. Jenny gave ninety acres embracing the battle site to the Association in 1938. Adjoining land was purchased so
that 390 acres eventually were passed from the Association to the State Forestry Commission in 1945.
A monument to the World War II dead from Allendale, Bamberg, Colleton and Hampton Counties, which converge at
a point in the park, was dedicated in 1948 with an afternoon address by the Honorable James F. Byrnes.
A State Historic Marker given by the Edisto District, SC United Daughters of the Confederacy was dedicated in 1967.
By 1939 there were no living Confederate Veterans remaining in Allendale and Hampton Counties. The Association
continues to meet to hear patriotic speeches and music in addition to placing flowers and flags on the mass grave in
memory of the fallen Confederates.
The first re-enactment of the Battle of Rivers Bridge was held in 1965. Rivers Bridge was the first historic park in the
State Park system and the only one that commemorates the Confederacy.
Information courtesy of Mrs. Betty Jane Miller
|A rifle salute is
rendered during a
|One of several interpretive
panels placed with the help of
Friends of Rivers Bridge, many
of whom are members of
Camp No. 842.
|Original Marker placed at the
mass grave by the Rivers
Bridge Confederate Memorial
|Rivers Bridge Memorial
|Uniform coat of General Micah
Jenkins preserved with help
from Camp 842. It is housed at
the Confederate Relic Room
and Military Museum.
|Rivers Bridge Camp No. 842
Sons of Confederate Veterans
|At the left is a picture of the
recently restored flag of the
2nd South Carolina Cavalry.
The flag itself was on display
at the 2013 Rivers Bridge
Memorial celebration. The
flag actually flew on the field
of battle at Rivers Bridge in
1865. We refer to it as, "The
Rivers Bridge Flag."
|D. Kenny Cone
|The Great Motivator