THE COLUMNS - Florence, SC

BACKGROUND - Actions Near Florence

    • Feb. 26th Skirmish, Lynch's Creek: 7th Illinois (Mounted) Infantry; 29th Missouri Mounted Infantry; 2d and 7th Iowa Infantry; 81st Ohio Infantry; 11th Texas Cavalry; 5th SC Cavalry

    • Col. Zimmerman Davis (5th SC Cavalry) recalls M. C. Butler's old brigade was commanded by Col. Hugh Aiken when Butler, then at Kellytown, directed Aiken to take a regiment on a nighttime reconnaissance down the East bank of Lynch's Creek towards Darlington. Aiken selected Zimmerman's 5th Regiment, about 300 men in number, and, on the road to Dubose Bridge, encountered Federal forces under the command of Lt. John A. McQueen. In a resulting charge, Aiken was captured but managed to quickly escape, only to be fatally shot by a departing shot from the enemy as he was dismounting. Davis led a second charge towards the few soldiers remaining in the road and severely wounded McQueen with a close range pistol shot. McQueen was treated kindly by the enemy when he produced a letter from Dr. A. Toomer Porter which spoke eloquently of McQueens' attempts to stem the tide of destruction in Columbia earlier in the campaign ("Butler and His Cavalry ..." p. 418-419). 

      Detachments of Sherman's army were involved in several minor encounters but faced no major conflicts until they crossed the Lynch's River at Boze Ferry.  The 29th Missouri Mounted Infantry is said to have participated in a skirmish at "Lynch's Creek" on Feb 26, 1854. The 11th Texas Cavalry is said to have been in an encounter at Lynch's Creek on Feb 26th.  The 5th SC Cavalry led the action at Lynch's Creek on the 24th or 26th of February. Interestingly enough, there was also a Revolutionary War skirmish at "Lynch's Creek" in December 1780.

    • Feb. 27th Skirmish, Mount Elon: 15th Illnois Cavalry (Co. "K"); 4th Ohio Independent Cavalry Company; 5th SC Cavalry
Dyer's Compendium says the 4th Ohio Independent Cavalry Company was at Mt Elon on Feb 27. Company "K" 10th (AKA 15th) Illinois Cavalry roster shows Pvt. Henry Irish "killed near Mt. Elon, SC, Feb 28, 1865." Colonel Hugh K. Aiken, Commander of Butler's Brigade (formerly of the 6th South Carolina Cavalry), KIA, Mt. Elon, 2/27/65. Was Aiken killed on the 26th at the Lynch's Creek encounter (above) or on the 27th at Mt. Elon? Adding to the confusion are several accounts which claim Aiken was killed on Febraury 24th.

"Mounted Union troops under Captain William Duncan encountered a superior forces of Confederate cavalry commanded by Col. Hugh K. Aiken.  After a sharp hand to hand fight Capt. Duncan was forced to fall back across Lynch's River.  Col. Aiken was killed." - per the Historical Marker, at Mt. Elon site near Bishopville.

  • ATTEMPTED AMBUSH near Florence
    • Mar. 4th - 6th Expedition from Cheraw to Florence and skirmishes:  7th and 9th Illionis Mounted Infantry; 29th Missouri Mounted Infantry (Detachment 15th Corps Foragers); 3rd SC Cavalry.
A Federal force came down from Cheraw looking for supplies and went towards Florence to release PWs there, but were stopped at Palmetto and turned around.  As they were marching down the railroad tracks, a train approached and they deployed in an attempt to ambush it.  The engineer saw what was going on and reversed the train with the Federal Cavalry in pursuit. 

According to "A Tour Guide of the Civil War," a detachment of Sherman's Cavalry was sent to free prisoners at the Florence stockade in March of 1865 but none were there (assumed to have been moved earlier).  Confederate Cavalry, under Gen. Joseph Wheeler and Col. Charles J. Colcock (3rd SC Cavalry), rushed their horses off of loaded boxcars and skirmished briefly behind Gambel's Hotel, driving the Yankees back towards Darlington. Florence was a major shipping center, point of embarkation, hospital center, and finally, prisoner of war camp.  As the camp was being setup 3 miles outside of town, prisoners were held in improvised camps in the mid-town area.  During this time, a major typhoid outbreak claimed as many as 100 lives per day. Eventually 2800 or the 12,000 prisoners perished including one woman who had disguised herself as a man to accompany her husband.

"On March 5, 1865 near the point where the Ebeneezer Road crosses the Cheraw and Darlington RR, the 29th Missouri Mounted Infantry of Col. Ruben Williams commanding, deployed on either side of the tracks to capture a Confederate train approaching from Florence.  The attempt failed when the engineer, discovering the trap, reversed his engine and escaped." - per the Historical Marker at the site of the "Attempted Ambush"


  •  11th Texas Cav

      The Eleventh was one of the most frequently engaged of all the Texas units.  Records have been found showing that it participated in more 
      than one hundred and fifty various type engagements during its long career.  The regiment served as dismounted cavalry through several deadly battles until after the Battle at Chickamauga (September 1863) where they were incorporated into Major General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry corps and remounted. For the remainder of the war, the men of the Eleventh Texas cavalry were brigaded with the 8th Texas cavalry 

  •   29th Missouri Infantry

      The 29th Missouri Mounted Infantry was an unassigned unit of Sherman's XV CORPS commanded by MAJOR GENERAL JOHN ALEXANDER LOGAN, 4th Division Brigadier General John Murry Corse.  They were at "Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Hickory Hill, S. C., February 1. Angley's Post-office and Buford's Bridge February 4. Duncanville February 5. Fishburn's Plantation, near Lane's Bridge, Salkehatchie River, February 6. Cowpen's Ford, Little Salkehatchie River, February 6. Binnaker's Bridge, South Edisto River, February 9. Orangeburg February 11 - 12. Wolf's Plantation February 14. Congaree Creek February 15. Columbia February 16 - 17. Lynch's Creek February 26. Expedition to Florence and skirmishes March 4 - 6."

  • 15th Illinois Cavaly

      Companies I and K were consolidated from Companies A and B of the 36th Illinois Infantry. The unit was later consolidated into the 10th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Cavalry. The Tenth and Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry were combined late in the War; under Special Orders, No. 24, January 26, 1865, "The original service term of the Tenth and Fifteenth Regiments Illinois Cavalry Volunteers having expired the re-enlisted men and recruits of the same will,-----re-organized as the Tenth Regiment Illinois Cavalry Volunteers." Company K Commanders have been: Captain Henry A. Smith, Lieutenant Francis E. Reynolds, Captain Samuel B. Sherer, Lieutenant John A. McQueen and Captain William Duncan. 

Jacob-Kelly house (in Kellytown, SC) was used as Union HQ March 2nd and 3rd  by MG John E. Smith, commander of US 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps. 

Col. Ruben Williams later burned the Cheraw newspaper office and was himself a newspaper editor. 

Iron Scout Jim Dulin, acting as a part of Shadborne's scouts in SC, was wounded earlier in the week (on or about 23 Feb)

"I am sorry to say that Wheeler's men have done us more damage than the Yankees. I did not mind it at first when I thought they had only taken things needed, but I do blame them very much for their wanton destruction of property that they ought to protect. It is a shame and they ought to be exposed." - from a Journal kept by Miss CHARLOTTE ST. J RAVENEL of Poshee Plantation.



One docent acting as "interpreter"  (each man will take his turn at this task) - This person can engage spectators in normal conversation and answer all the questions about reenacting and similar modernism.  He can also speak with the enactors in first person in order to lead the spectators, by example, in conversing  the group.  The reason for this role is to encourage dialogue between the 1865 soldiers and the 2003 spectators without confusing the latter.  The docent will also be responsible for maintaining a small selection of hands-on equipment and possibly informational handouts.

Five enactors will participate in a first person 1865 camp life scene. If desired, each man may assume the persona of one of the original Iron Scouts (see list and brief bios below). We will have one man acting as cook around the fire; a horse close to the camp scene attended to at all times by one man; other men may engage in games of chance, write letters, read period books or newspapers, mend or clean clothing, clean weapons, or anything else the group can think of.  We want to see camp life portrayed constantly - something always going on that will interest the spectators - although enactors may, of course, leave the scene as necessary.


At a time designated by the event organizers, we will conduct a cavalry demonstration (not necessarily in first person) which will consist of one or more of the following: mounted saber drill and mock combat, "running at the heads," school of the trooper mounted, or a tack and equipment presentation (other ideas?).

Those of you familiar with the event property already know it does not lend itself to an extensive ride, however, we will designate a time each morning for some "saddle time,"  preferably before the camp is open to the public.


If other cavalry is present, we will allow them to handle the cavalry duties during the battle on both days.  If no one else shows up, we can discuss whether we want to serve as couriers, staff, scouts, or dismounted skirmishers.  I would suggest, if we consider service as skirmishers, that we all ride as CS troopers and avoid the whole "saber clashing" thing!  In any case we will want to be back in camp for one more round of Camp Life well before the spectators leave the battle viewing area.



8:00 - 2:00        School Demonstrations
3:00                   Road Trip to Florence Stockade, National Cemetary, and Museum (if interested)
10:00                 Officers Call (POC)


7:00 - 7:45         Early morning ride
9:00 - 5:00         Camp open to public
9:00 - 9:30         Palmetto Battalion Parade (mounted)
9:30                   Officers call (POC)
9:30 - 1:00         Camp Life
1:00 - 1:30         Cavalry demo
2:00 - 3:00         Battle reenactment
3:00 - 4:00         Camp Life
4:00                   Live Fire
6:00                   Saturday's Meal - A lowcountry favorite.  That's right - chicken bog!
8:00                   Iron Scouts Business Meeting
8:00 until            The Ball - Held on Saturday night in the top of the hay barn. The Crescent Moon Rounders have been engaged to provide the music.


7:00 - 7:45        Early morning ride
9:00 - 5:00        Camp open to public
9:00 - 9:30        Palmetto Battalion Parade (mounted)
9:30                  Officers call (POC)
9:30 - 1:00        Camp Life
11:00                Divine Service, Barn
1:00 - 1:30        Cavalry demo
2:00 - 3:00        Battle reenactment (we could leave at this time)


Each man should adopt the persona of one of the original scouts for this event.  While not much information is provided below, perhaps you could keep the name you "adopt" and continue researching the person for use in later impressions.  The list below only includes enlisted men (no officers or NCOs) and only those who survived the war.  The ages metioned below assume the year to be 1862.  Names already "spoken for," unless we want to change them, are Josiah Beck = Mike Booth; Sim Miller = Ron "Haybale" Crawley; George Handley = Ed "Lil' Tex" Harrelson; Jack Shoolbred = Dan "Big Tex" Murphy;  Barney Hennegan = Mac.  References are A = Autobiography of Arab; BHC = Butler and His Cavalry

Private Josiah Beck. Enlisted in the Beaufort District Troop on June 19, 1861 at Grahmville by Captain Screven for one year. Served as Private and Corporal. Captured near Cedar Run, VA on April 13, 1863, imprisoned at Old Capitol Prison, paroled May 10, 1863.

Private Cecil Johnson. No service records found. Enlisted in the 8th GA Regiment, Oglethorpe Light Infantry and transferred to the Beaufort Troop after action at Sharpsburg. Killed at Upperville (Gettyburg Campaign).

Private J. Stanyard "Jack" Shoolbred, 22 years-old. Enlisted in the Beaufort District Troop on June 19, 1861 at Grahmville by Captain Screven for one year. Horse named Don. Captured by 8th Ill. Cavalry scouts on March 30, 1863 near Catlett's Station, imprisoned at Old Capitol Prison, later paroled. In Richmond Hospital #6 Nov. 1862, sick leave May-June 1863, AWOL July-Aug 1863, back on duty Sep-Oct 1863.

Private George M. Crafton. Enlisted in Edgefield Hussars on October 8, 1861 at Edgefield, SC by Captain Bunch for one year. Dismounted Feb-Mar 1864, hospitalized at Wilmington, NC for chronic diarrhea in Nov. 1864. Other: from Woodlawn PO, SC.

Private Barney Hennegan, 27 years-old. No service records other than a name card. Other: 6-4" tall, excellent orator, very friendly and gentle for his stature.

Private Simeon E. "Sim" Miller. 25 years-old. Enlisted in Brook's Troop on June 1, 1861 at Greenville, SC by Captain Lanneau for one year. Captured after being wounded at Warrenton, VA on May 3, 1863, imprisoned at Old Capitol Prison, sent to Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, VA, paroled for exchange. At home on sick furlough May-June 1863, back on duty July-Aug 1863, recruiting horses in Albermarle, VA from Nov. 1863 to Feb. 1864, detailed in Engineer Department as a clerk Aug. 9, 1864. Other: Born Barnwell District.

Private John C. Willingham. Enlisted in Brook's Troop on June 6, 1861 at Greenville, SC by Captain Lanneau for one year. On horse furlough Sep-Oct 1863, detailed in AQM Department at Barnwell SC in August 1864.

Private Wallace W. Miller, 20 years-old. Enlisted on August 27, 1861 at Hamburg (Camp Butler) by Captain Twiggs. On sick furlough July-Aug 1862. Captured at Petersburg, VA on November 15, 1864, imprisoned at City Point, swore oath and was released June 29, 1865, admitted to hospital at Point Lookout for "Chronic Diarrhea", transferred to General Hospital July 22, 1865. Other: from Edgefield District, SC.

Private George J. Handley, 21 years-old. Enlisted July 7, 1862 at Charles City, VA for the war. Detailed as a scout Nov-Dec 1862 and present/accounted for on the muster roles of Company H, 1st NC Cavalry through August 1863. AWOL from September 1863 to February 1864 after having deserted (BHC p100, allegedly joined "Wilson's" federal cavalry and was later captured (BHC p232). Arrested and imprisoned by CSA authorities but later released after investigation proved his participation as a scout and spy during the absent period. Other: "Arab" and "Butler..." both mention Hanley from the 1st NC Cavalry several times. There was no "Hanley" documented in the 1st NC so we assume George to be the trooper referred to by Henderson.

Private James M. "Jim" Sloan. Company F, 1st NC Cavalry. Captured along with George Shadborne in '64 near Fredericksburg, later escaped.

Private Henry H. Parks, Company H, 1st NC Cavalry (Note: not yet proved, this trooper was in the same unit as Handley and only one of two Parks found in NC cavalry companies).