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Union Forces Fortify at Battle of Broxton Bridge

The reenactment of the Civil War Battle of Broxton Bridge takes place the first weekend in March. A little light rain on Friday gave way to good weather Saturday and Sunday, with heavy rain arriving Sunday evening after the event was over. It was 154 years ago when the northern army was moving between Savannah and Columbia and had to cross the Salkehatchie River Swamp. The defensive fortifications the Confederate army held are still visible today at Broxton Bridge Plantation.
This reenactment is sponsored by the Salt-Ketchers Chapter, and is hosted by the 32nd Georgia artillery and the 2nd Georgia Regiment of Col. Burke Sharpshooters. The reenactors camp on the edge of the Salkehatchie Swamp and it still looks very formidable today with deep channels and steep embankments. The sharpshooters could climb up a hardwood tree and look down on the opposing forces, while cannons could pepper their approach. History records that the Union forces were too many, and their march to Columbia was unabated.
Broxton Bridge owner Jerry Varn told me that he is welcoming about 250 first time union forces reenactors in 2019. “Units like the New York Highlanders are coming to the Battle of Broxton Bridge this year for the third time this year,” said Varn. “There seems to be a lack of reenactments up North these days, and the word has spread that we have plenty of room here at Broxton Bridge. A total of 700 reenactors will be taking part, and the Union and Confederate forces will be almost equal.”
“Friday is known as Living History Day and we have school children come here from Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton and Hampton counties,” said Varn. “The reenactors educate them via a skirmish battle and then an educational question and answer session. The Hunley submarine exhibit is also here to raise awareness about other aspects of the Civil War. A frontiersman shares his animal skin clothing examples to the kids, and everyone takes time to give them a glimpse back into our past.”
The main Battle of Broxton Bridge reenactment is held at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, but the reenactors camp out in period dress all weekend. Lots of cast irons pots can be seen hanging over an open fire, and most modern day conveniences are hidden away for the weekend in a nod towards authenticity. Many pots contain a chicken perlot with country ham, sausage and other common food items of that day. The grounds are dotted with spring flowers like the white blooms of the swamp lily and the green leaves of the trillium.

Best of America by Horseback TV Show

This coming weekend at Broxton Bridge Plantation is a special trail ride for fans of the RFD TV channel, featuring programming devoted to rural issues. The Best of America By Horseback show will be hosting a weekend of activities March 8 – 10. Celebrity host Tom Seay and co-host Kristen Biscoe will hold a meet and greet with fans on Friday night. Saturday morning is a Grand Opening Ceremony and the trail ride filming will take place all day. Saturday night is a Lowcountry boil dinner with live music and Sunday morning will offer a Cowboy church service.
Part of the draw for the Best of America TV show is the 80-miles of scenic trails found over 7,000-acres at Broxton Bridge. The Varn family has owned the property since the late 1700’s and the Civil War history found on site will be highlighted during the filming. Plenty of horse stalls, camper hook-ups and bed and breakfast rooms are available at Broxton Bridge, making it uniquely qualified to host large groups.
Other events coming up at Broxton Bridge include the Hampton County Shriners fun shoot on March 16. The competition is open to the public and $75 gets you 100 sporting clays, raffles and a meal. Then on April 28th is the Fly-In with the S.C. Breakfast Club and the Citadel Flying Club. Join other aviation enthusiast to watch the small planes land and take off and enjoy this fellowship during a country breakfast that lasts all morning.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com.

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (360 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com