01 June 2013

Combahee River Raid - 150th Anniversary

This weekend the Lowcountry commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Combahee River Raid.

Here is a transcription of the Commanding officer's report to Major-General David Hunter, Commanding Tenth Army Corps, Department of the South as given in the Supplement to the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, volume 14, serial 20, p. 104:

June 2, 1863.  Union raid on the Combahee River, South Carolina.

Report of Colonel James Montgomery, Second South Carolin Infantry (Union), of operations at Combahee River, South Carolina, June 2, 1863.

Beaufort, South Carolina, June 3, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that in obedience to your orders, I proceeded up the Combahee River with the steamers John Adams and Harriet A. Weed with a detachment of 300 men on the Second South Carolina Volunteer Regiment [Union] and a section of the Third Rhode Island Battery, commanded by Captain [Charles Ray] Brayton.

We ascended the river some twenty-five miles, destroyed a pontoon bridge, together with a vast amount of cotton, rice and other property, and brought away 725 slaves and some fine horses.

We had some sharp skirmishes in all of which the men behaved splendidly; I hope to report more fully in a day or tow.

I have the honor to be, General, your most obedient servant,
James Montgomery,
Colonel, Commanding South Carolina Volunteers.

Serving as a scout for this raid was Harriet Tubman, a former slave who was a key conductor of the Underground Railroad.  During the Civil War she served the United States as a scout, nurse, cook and spy.  Review the links in our list of online sources and other materials about Harriet Tubman.

The Sons & Daughters United States Colored Troops are sponsoring several events over the weekend to highlight and honor the role of the United States Colored Troops including the Combahee River Raid.  Local sponsors include Mitchelville Preservation Project, Penn Center, LyBenson Studio, and the Tabernacle Baptist Church. Visit their website for details.
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