Monday, March 2, 2015

2,400 against 12,000 at Broxton Bridge

Via Carl

 Dated, but posted for the history.

It was February 1865. Gen. William Sherman’s 12,000-man Union army was on the move toward Columbia, and the Confederate army waited at Broxton Bridge, with only 2,400 men.

The Union soldiers had no easy task. The Lowcountry’s swamps had to be crossed — in the dead of a wet winter when the swamps were full. The Confederates had destroyed the roads and bridges through the swamps, so the army had to wade through black water filled with hidden logs, cypress knees and gator holes. “Crossing that swamp in freezing weather with all the roadways blocked, it was hard to do that,” said Civil War historian Bart Chassereau, chairman of the re-enactment of the Battle of Broxton Bridge.

The Confederates were on high ground, their breastworks 30 feet above the base of the river. And members of the Texas Rangers, S.C. Calvary, Tennessee Calvary and others — 835 infantrymen, 1,000 cavalry and 300-400 artillery — had been there for two weeks, blocking all the roads and burning all the bridges through the swamp. They also had a 12-gun battery hidden at Broxton Bridge as a surprise for the Union forces. “What the Union army could see was a line of entrenchment and a few pieces of artillery,” Chassereau said. “We had the high ground, an effective cavalry force and the element of surprise.”

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