The Sixteenth Regiment, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 36 of Greenville, South Carolina, has published a book titled: Greenville, South Carolina During the War for Southern Independence. The camp, during the June 27 monthly dinner meeting, honored Author Mike Finley and Editor Dr. Martha Batten.
Also recognized for his part in the project was past Commander Jim Bouchillon, who promoted the idea of a book on Greenville’s war history for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the War for Southern Independence.
A special segment of the book deals with the “Skirmish on Crescent Ridge,” a skirmish that took place in a section of Greenville located on what is now Crescent Avenue that has been little known to local residents in recent years. The brief but violent skirmish took place between a group of Greenville home guards and a regiment of Tennessee Unionist cavalrymen on May 23, 1865. This was weeks after General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, and General Joe Johnson surrendered the Army of Tennessee on April 26, 1865.
The Skirmish at Crescent Ridge produced no casualties, but almost resulted in the summary execution of three former Confederates and the sacking of Greenville.
The home guard was armed with revolvers, muskets and a few hunting pieces. They had been told that a band of “outliners” or outlaw deserters were approaching from Anderson. They opened fire at first sight before realizing that they were firing on the Thirteenth Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, USA. This was the same unit that had pillaged Anderson searching for President Jefferson Davis the first of May.
All but three of the home guard was able to escape the scene, however the three were captured, including a former Confederate Colonel Jones.
The Federals decided to execute the three the next morning without a trial. The account in the book explains the outcome:
As time drew nigh for the executions, Colonel Jones (a Freemason) gave his order’s sign of distress to a federal officer. The officer, also a Mason, postponed the execution and took the men before the brigade’s commander, another Mason, who interrogated Col. Jones and the others closely and was satisfied with their responses that they were not “bushwhackers” and had not fired any shots. Col. Jones and the others were released and the troopers headed into Greenville.”
The city was saved from the torch and looting and what happened that evening was a great example of “Southern Hospitality” at its finest.
The ladies of Greenville prepared a meal from what resources they had available and their horses were provided with forage. After spending the night in Greenville, the Thirteenth Tennessee headed toward Hendersonville and through Asheville, to East Tennessee.
This was one of the last engagements of the war.
The book contains interesting firsthand accounts fromthe battles of Anderson, Williamston and Turner Hill in Pickens County as Stoneman’s Raiders searched in vain for President Davis in South Carolina.
Greenville, SC During the War for Southern Independence may be purchased at the Museum and Library of Confederate History book store and gift shop and at Sesquicentennial events around the Palmetto State.