On February 7, 2015, I had the honor of giving a presentation at the Rivers Bridge State Historic Site in Erhardt, SC, entitled “He Says He Was a Union Man”: Sherman’s March and the Civilians of the Rivers Bridge Vicinity. This presentation was part of the South Carolina State Parks’ ongoing commemorative activities celebrating the 150th anniversary of this pivotal event in South Carolina’s history.
As the title implies, the presentation focused on civilian experiences of Sherman’s campaign as it passed through the Rivers Bridge vicinity, explaining the kinds of sources that I used in completing a three-year, grant-funded mapping project of nearly 400 sites associated with Sherman’s March in South Carolina and what those sources can tell us about both soldiers and civilians involved in the events. One of the surprising discoveries, for both Union soldiers and me as a researcher, was the large number of Unionist residents living near Rivers Bridge. As this presentation suggests, I am presently engaged in a much larger book project to document Sherman’s March in South Carolina on a daily, micro level, highlighting both soldier and civilian experiences in a manner that allows scholars and residents to locate physical resources associated with the campaign and thus better understand their local history. I expect that this book will be complete sometime in 2016.
I have had numerous requests from individuals and organizations who were not able to attend this event, asking to see a copy of my remarks. As a courtesy, I am attaching them in the PDF below. While you should feel free to download them for personal research use, they are protected by copyright, so I ask that you secure permission from me before reprinting, redistributing, or reposting them anywhere else.