Gettysburg soldiers from South Carolina honored at Magnolia Cemetery

Magnolia Cemetery (Ben Morgan/staff)

The sacrifice of thousands of South Carolina soldiers who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg was recognized Monday at Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery, where the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s “High Water Mark” was remembered.

“The numbers were staggering,” College of Charleston professor and author Patrick Harwood said. About 51,000 were killed, wounded or missing on both sides during the fighting from July 1-3, 1863, according to the National Park Service.

Magnolia holds the remains of 82 Confederate dead from the battle who were returned after the war ended, largely at the insistence of the Ladies Memorial Association. The women’s group fought to have the remains brought back from shallow graves in Pennsylvania.

“To get the boys back here and put in the ground was a wonderful accomplishment,” said retired Navy commander and historian John Spear, in praising their effort. Black ribbons were wrapped around those soldiers’ tombstones this week.

The event drew about 25 participants and on-lookers, including Bob Scholes of Johns Island, who dressed as a Confederate artillery private. He called himself “half-Yankee” because he has ancestors from both sides of the conflict.

“I have great admiration for all those who fought at Gettysburg,” he said.

The Confederate flags, as well as the U.S. flag at the cemetery entrance, will be flown at half-staff through Wednesday in recognition of Gettysburg’s sesquicentennial.

Magnolia Cemetery, in the Charleston Neck Area, is the final resting place of some 2,200 Confederates killed in the war or who were war veterans, the cemetery said.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.