Chris Clayton Lecture

Home / Bluffton Blog / Chris Clayton Lecture

We are very excited to announce that local historian, Chris Clayton, will be giving a lecture on April 29, 2014. The lecture will be held in the large meeting room of the Bluffton Branch Library from 3-5 pm. Chris will be presenting his research on “Sherman in South Carolina: The Battle of River’s Bridge.”

Major General William Tecumseh Sherman is quoted as saying:

“This march was like the thrust of a sword towards the heart of the human body.”

Much has been published about Sherman’s march from Atlanta to Savannah and his destruction of Columbia. There is less known about the early stages of his march through the lower part of South Carolina.

Mr. Clayton’s presentation examines what happened in the march from the Savannah River to Columbia and seeks to understand what drives a person to inflict total war and wreak havoc on his fellow citizens.

In January 1865 the right wing of the Union Army marched north from Beaufort to Rivers Bridge located on the Salkehatchie River. Sherman then moved north burning and looting. Sheldon Church, McPhersonville, Yemassee were destroyed by the marauding troops. On the morning of the 2nd of February the Union 17th corps plunged forward. Its goal was to push through the swamps and cross the Salkehatchie. This battle was the last resistance to the marauding army in the State of South Carolina.

The invasion resulted in enormous damage to the civilian population that was practically defenseless. Sherman’s marched his troops 425 miles in 50 days, leaving the well-known sight of columns of black smoke. Houses were burned, and in its footsteps, fire, ashes, and desolation followed.


The Bluffton Branch Library is located at 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton South Carolina 29910. This event is being provided by the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society. The suggested donation for the lecture is $5.