Civil War History and a Visit to the Riverbanks Zoo – Columbia, SC Overnight Road Trip; 18/19 September 2022

I took an overnight road trip to Columbia, SC on Sunday and Monday, visiting the Rivers’ Bridge State Historic Site in Erhardt, SC on the way to Columbia and visiting the Riverbanks Zoo and Saluda Factory historic site in Columbia before heading back to Savannah on Monday. I had never visited either Rivers’ Bridge or the Saluda Factory before, so both were new experiences for me, and I enjoyed them very much. From a radio standpoint, it wasn’t all that interesting a trip. The 2 Meter and 70cm repeaters along the way didn’t have much activity and the F-16s from Shaw AFB and McEntire ANGB (temporarily at Columbia Metropolitan) weren’t flying on Monday morning, so there wasn’t that much MilCom activity within listening distance of Columbia. On Sunday evening, the Fire/EMS services in Lexington and Richland County were quite busy, so there was that to listen to.

Amateur Radio

146.7150 (PL 91.5) - Columbia, SC
147.0600 (DCS 315) - Wedgefield, SC
147.3300 (PL 156.7) - Columbia, SC
442.8750 (DCS 315) - Columbia, SC 
444.8750 (PL 91.5) - Columbia, SC

Aviation/MilCom

125.125 - Beaufort Approach/Departure
292.125 - Beaufort Approach/Departure
123.700 - Beaufort Approach/Departure
269.125 - Beaufort Approach/Departure   

120.700 - Charleston TRACON
119.300 - Charleston TRACON
349.400 - Joint Base Charleston "PALMETTO OPS"

119.500 - Columbia Metropolitan Tower
257.800 - Columbia Metropolitan Tower
124.150 - Columbia TRACON
133.400 - Columbia TRACON
285.600 - Columbia TRACON
338.200 - Columbia TRACON

124.075 - Jax Center Summerville High
124.700 - Jax Center Columbia Low
126.125 - Jax Center Statesboro High
127.875 - Jax Center Aiken High
132.425 - Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
133.450 - Jax Center Florence Low
133.625 - Jax Center Georgetown High
134.975 - Jax Center Ridgeway Ultra High
126.425 - Atlanta Center Dublin High
128.100 - Atlanta Center Augusta Low
322.325 - Atlanta Center Augusta Low

343.750 - Bulldog MOA Discrete
299.275 - VMFA-312 Tac 1

Public Safety

159.3300 (DCS 271) - SC Forestry Lake Murray

155.9400 (PL 85.4) - Allendale County EMS Dispatch 
154.3700 (PL 162.2) - Bamberg County FD
154.4000 (PL 118.8) - Barnwell FD Dispatch
151.0250 (PL 118.8) - Calhoun County FD Dispatch

Palmetto 800
 TG 550 - Hilton Head Island Fire/Rescue Dispatch
 TG 552 - Hilton Head Island Fire/Rescue Tac 1
 TG 6541 - Jasper County FD Dispatch
 TG 10394 - Meducare Helicopter Flight Control
 TG 20010 - SC Call
 TG 20020 - SC Mutual Aid 10
 TG 20026 - SC Regional Government 10
 TG 23541 - Kershaw County FD Dispatch
 TG 24531 - Lexington County FS Ops 1
 TG 24532 - Lexington County FS Ops 2
 TG 24542 - Lexington County FS Dispatch
 TG 25053 - Orangeburg County FD Dispatch
 TG 25057 - Orangeburg County FD Page
 TG 25552 - Columbia FD Dispatch (Richland Co)
 TG 25556 - Columbia FD Ops 4 (Richland Co)
 TG 25557 - Columbia FD Ops 5 (Richland Co)
 TG 25569 - Richland County ESD 5 Hazmat/Fire Marshal/Coroner
 TG 25570 - Richland County ESD 6 Tac
 TG 26101 - Sumter County FD 1
 TG 27505 - DHEC Hospital Net Main
 TG 28106 - SC EMD Midlands
 TG 28609 - SC LifeNet (Medevac Helicopters)

Rivers’ Bridge State Historic Site

The first stop on this road trip was the Battle of Rivers’ Bridge State Historic Site in Erhardt, SC (east of Allendale between US-321 and US-601). If you’re taking US-321 to Columbia (my preferred way to go because I can’t stand taking I-95 in South Carolina), it’s not too far out of the way.

The Battle of Rivers’ Bridge took place on 2/3 February 1865 as Sherman’s Army of the Tennessee and Army of Georgia advanced northward through South Carolina after their March to the Sea at the end of 1864. The Confederates were trying to stop the Union advance at the Salkehatchie River and built earthworks along a causeway at Rivers’ Bridge. After failing to cross the river at Broxton Bridge, the Union forces moved upriver to Rivers’s Bridge, where they were able to flank the Georgia infantry and South Carolina cavalry and artillery units manning the earthworks. After clearing the earthworks, the Union forces were able to secure the bridge. Following their victory, the Union forces were able to cut the South Carolina Railroad and move toward Columbia, the capital of South Carolina. Following the battle, the Confederate dead were buried by the local community in a mass grave that is marked by a monument and gravestones (placed well after the battle with incorrect dates) north of the battlefield on the historic site’s property.

Historic causeway alongside the Confederate earthworks leading to where Rivers’ Bridge was located. From this vantage point, the earthworks are off to the right.
These pilings are what’s left of Rivers’ Bridge across the Salkehatchie River.
The Salkehatchie River and surrounding swamp that Union forces had to move through to approach and flank the Confederate forces at Rivers’ Bridge
The Confederate earthworks facing the Salkehatchie River at Rivers’ Bridge
Trenchworks atop the Confederate earthworks at Rivers’ Bridge – Union forces flanked the earthworks at this point, forcing the Confederates back toward Columbia.
Looking toward the Salkehatchie River and swamp from on top of the Confederate earthworks at Rivers’ Bridge
This marker and the gravestones were placed on the location of the mass grave where the Confederate dead from the Battle of Rivers’ Bridge were buried. well after the battle and list the wrong dates for the battle.

Riverbanks Zoo and the Saluda Factory

On Monday morning, I visited the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia with the dual purpose of visiting the zoo as well as the Saluda Factory site that is on the Zoo’s property. After you cross the footbridge across the Saluda River from the Riverbanks Zoo to the Riverbanks Gardens, a trail branches off to the right that leads to the ruins of the factory and small museum/interpretive center. It’s well worth the short walk along the trail to see part of Columbia’s Civil War and Antebellum History.

The Saluda Factory was a cotton mill built in the late 1820s and early 1830s on the south bank of the Saluda River near its confluence with the Congaree River in Columbia, SC. Burned during the Civil War when Columbia was burned by Sherman’s Union forces, all that remains of the factory/mill today are parts of the granite foundation and the granite walls of the dam raceway and control gates for the water wheels that powered the mill. The mill was operated by Slaves and produced heavy brown shirting and “Southern Stripe” cloth for making clothes. During the Civil War, an estimated 50,000 Confederate uniforms were made by the factory’s wool weaving mill.

In February 1865 (following their crossing of the Salkehatchie at Rivers’ Bridge), Union forces approached Columbia. Confederate forces destroyed the bridge across the Saluda just east of the factory, but Union forces were able to rebuild it and cross north into Columbia. When you cross the footbridge over the Saluda from the Riverbanks Zoo to the Riverbanks Gardens, you can see what remains of the bridge. Union troops rebuilding the bridge were covered by Union snipers working from the multi-story factory. After they crossed the river, Union forces burned the factory when they burned Columbia.

The slideshow above shows what remains of the bridge across the Saluda River that was destroyed during the Civil War. You can see the foundation for the bridge supports in the middle of the river and where it meets the south bank of the Saluda.

The slideshow above shows views of the trail leading to the Saluda Factory and Interpretive Center

The Saluda Factory Interpretive Center
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates
Locally cut granite blocks are what remains of the Saluda Factory’s foundation, raceway, and dam control gates

Unfortunately, the SD card with photos of the animals from the Riverbanks Zoo has developed a problem (neither my desktop or laptop computer will recognize it), so the only photos I have of the animals are from my phone and several are very grainy due to the high zoom level used. If I ever manage to get any of the photos off the SD card, I’ll update this post with them.

Food

On Sunday evening, I decided to go somewhere that I hadn’t eaten before for supper, so I went to Taqueria La Poblanita #2 in West Columbia. It was an excellent choice; the food was delicious, and the decor was colorful and bright. I had the Carne Azada and Camarones with rice and beans and really enjoyed it, the steak was perfectly seasoned and tender, and it came with a variety of sauces and dips. They claim to be a more authentic style of Mexican restaurant and while I can’t speak to the accuracy of that claim, it’s a bit different than the average Mexican restaurant and certainly worth trying.

After I visited the Riverbanks Zoo and Saluda Factory on Monday, I made my traditional stop by the East Bay Deli in West Columbia (across from the Lexington Medical Center) before heading back to Savannah. Any of their sandwiches are an excellent choice, but on this visit, I had my favorite – their Cuban sandwich. If you’re anywhere near one of the East Bay Delis in Charleston or Columbia, I can’t recommend them enough for lunch – the food is always great, and the service is always friendly.

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