Confederate soldier honored in birthday celebration

Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 8:43 PM
Last updated Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 12:46 AM
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Only the murmuring of a few voices could be heard as a small crowd formed around the grave of Confederate Sgt. Berry Greenwood Benson in North Augusta on Sunday.

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Wayne Jones, 5th Brigade commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, talks about the life of Sgt. Berry Benson during the flagpole dedication ceremony at Benson's grave in North Augusta.  MIKE ADAMS/SPECIAL
Wayne Jones, 5th Brigade commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, talks about the life of Sgt. Berry Benson during the flagpole dedication ceremony at Benson's grave in North Augusta.

The group was gathered at Sunset Hill Cemetery to celebrate the birthday of the honored Civil War veteran in a program put on by the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Sgt. Berry Benson Camp.

The program, which also featured members of the Brig. Gen. E. Porter Alexander honor guard in traditional attire, began with the dedication of a new flagpole near Benson’s grave.

As members of the Sgt. Ber­ry Benson Camp surrounded the pole, hoisting a small Confederate flag into the cloud­less sky, speaker Theresa Pittman gave the audience a brief history on flagpoles and their importance during wartime.

“If it were not for flagpoles, proud flags would be little more than that,” Pittman told the seated audience. “We come today to dedicate this pole, the pole on which will fly the flag of our Confederate heritage and for the Confederate soldiers who fought and died for our cause.”

Wayne Jones, the 5th Brigade Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was the guest speaker.

Jones reflected on the life of Benson as told by late historian Edward J. Cashin.

Benson, born Feb. 9, 1843,
in Hamburg, S.C., gained notoriety during the Civil War for his acute ability to scout enemy locations and for escaping Union prisons on two occasions, Jones recalled.

Shortly after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the 16-year-old Benson joined the Hamburg Minutemen, and he went on to witness the Union Army’s surrender of Fort Sumter in April 1861.

Later in life, Benson settled into a home in North Augusta and began to work as a cotton broker and accountant.

“(Benson) worked in the mills,” Jones said. “He learned how to buy and sell. He learned all the tools that he needed to be successful in his business.”

Benson’s likeness has been immortalized atop the Confederate Monument in the 700 block of Broad Street, which was dedicated in 1878.

Camp Commander Robert Gordon said Benson was also known to be a tireless community leader in North Augusta.

“He’s the kind of guy that the more you learn about him, the more you admire him,” Gordon said. “He was the opposite of deviousness. I think those are the kind of heroes we need.”

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Bodhisattva 02/10/14 - 07:23 am
"our cause"?

The birthday of a traitor to his nation is celebrated and it makes the paper? A group of people still cling to the past of a failed attempt by some to destroy our nation over their "rights" to own other human beings by playing dress up and raising a flag of hatred. The war ended 149 years ago, but their bigotry and racism will never end.

southern2 02/10/14 - 08:47 am
Sgt. Ber­ry Benson, a true

Sgt. Ber­ry Benson, a true Southern hero still admired and honored for his patriotic duty to the Southland and still worthy of such an honor.

Wonderful work by the SCV and UDC in keeping Southern history and heritage protected and proclaimed.

Unfortunately for those like Bodhisattva above, although the war is over, the Southern spirit will live on forever and cannot be shamed or guilted away. Sounds like the same attack being echoed toward the true patriots of today.

seenitB4 02/10/14 - 09:49 am
Southern spirit will live on forever and cannot be shamed or gui

This is true....southern & proud of it.

Stop the hating bod.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/10/14 - 11:36 am
Rebels are not necessarily traitors.

Hey, Bod, don't you find it strange how our current State Department is taking the side of rebels fighting against the duly authorized government of Syria?

Our U.S. State Department also took the side of the Muslim Brotherhood as they ousted Egyptian president Hozni Mubarak.

You just can't figure out our State Department. The only consistent quality they have is support of Islamic jihadists.

griff6035 02/11/14 - 08:21 am
Confederate History Month April

I will be watching to see if all the Media sources that share all of the stories in February about Black History do the same about Confederate History in April, also School Systems,

owensjef3 02/10/14 - 04:01 pm
Are these people serious.

Are these people serious.

Stunned 2
Stunned 2 02/10/14 - 09:54 pm
Your Civil War Era ‘Yankee’ mentality only makes us pity you.

The Southern spirit rebuilt a devastated economy. There is a lot of southern history that you won’t find in published text books. It is passed on thru stories by our parents, grand-parents, great-grandparents, and theirs before us. Stories of great kindnesses by ‘whites’ to ‘blacks’. Thru the Great Depression, and for decades before, my family, though struggling themselves - leant a helping hand to neighboring African-American families. They were neighbors. They were friends. For those of you that are not privileged to be of Southern heritage and make judgments based ON ‘what you have read’, The government’s promise of 40 acres and a mule, was not enough to sustain the families of the newly freed American slaves. Your Civil War Era ‘Yankee’ mentality only makes us pity you.

corgimom 02/10/14 - 10:25 pm
He was an amazing man and his

He was an amazing man and his autobiography, that is in the North Augusta library, is a fascinating read.

And he was not a traitor, the Southern states had seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy. He was no longer a citizen of the US but instead a citizen of the Confederacy.

By your logic, the patriots in the American Revolution were traitors to the British throne.

Learn your American History, Bod.

teaparty 02/10/14 - 10:26 pm
"Stories of great kindnesses

"Stories of great kindnesses by ‘whites’ to ‘blacks’."
Blacks for the last 30 to 40 years have heard nothing but how racist white people are, not the progress that has been made. The liberals/progressives and black leaders, even the so called religious leaders, have brain washed the blacks of today. Folks need to read the book by Booker T. Washington.

corgimom 02/10/14 - 10:44 pm
"A group of people still

"A group of people still cling to the past of a failed attempt by some to destroy our nation over their "rights" to own other human beings by playing dress up and raising a flag of hatred."

My husband's great grandfather joined the Brooks County GA Rifles at age 16, in 1861. He fought all 4 years, was at Appomattox, and was never sick or wounded, which was pretty much a miracle.

He couldn't read or write, he was very poor- his family certainly didn't own any slaves- but he fought anyway. Because he was called to war by his government, and he went.

My husband's father joined the Navy back in 1926. When World War II began, he was at sea, and he was gone for 4 years too. And we are proud of him, too. My husband's brother and sister saw their father for a total of 3 days in 4 years, after a cross-country train trip back and forth.

That's my family heritage, Bod. And no, we won't EVER turn our backs on that heritage. EVER. And if you want to call that "clinging to the past", you are free to do so.

But just as you are proud of your family history, we are proud of ours. And perhaps you might want to think of how you would feel if we made disparaging remarks about YOUR ancestors. It has nothing to do with bigotry and racism and everything to do with family loyalty and love.

You are free to believe as you wish- but WE ARE TOO.

corgimom 02/10/14 - 10:47 pm
A group of people want to

A group of people want to impose their viewpoint on other people who are doing a legal activity and honoring historical figures and who aren't bothering anybody. They are exercising their Constitutional right of freedom of speech, and a group of people don't want them to exercise their right of freedom of speech, but protest heartily when their freedom of speech is threatened. Which is being a traitor to our country, because we believe that everybody has the right to freedom of speech, not just a few.

See the flip side of that, Bod?

Darby 02/11/14 - 07:20 pm
Hey, Bod....

George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Nathan Hale, et al.

Each and every one a "traitor", to his country.

It helps to remember that history is always written by the victors in war. Had our fight for independence gone badly, the only American "hero" from that rebellion begun in 1776 would have been Benedict Arnold.

What say to that, Bod? Does might always make right?

We can't allow reality to get in the way of ideology can we?

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