Friday, February 24, 2017

Walhalla SC Confederate Sights

Visited Walhalla South Carolina recently and stopped for a bit to take in the Confederate historical sites in the downtown area.  The author attended a Confederate Memorial Day event many years ago in the cemetery of Saint Johns Lutheran Church there.  Walhalla was founded by German immigrants in 1849 and is a picturesque town in the foothills of South Carolina, close to the Blue Ridge Mountains with scenic overlooks and waterfalls.  Walhalla hosts a popular Oktoberfest annually.  Saint John's Lutheran Church was founded and the current church structure built in 1859 just before the War Between the States.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and the grounds provide the final resting place for many of the town's founding families including many Confederate veterans.  Of interest was the place in the cemetery where Johann or John Wagener was buried.  Wagener was one of the founders of Walhalla, died and was buried there in 1876 before his remains were moved to Charleston SC.  Wagener served as a Colonel in the Confederate Army in charge of the First Artillery regiment which built Fort Walker on Hilton head island and defended Port Royal harbor in 1861.  After the War Between the States, Wagener was commissioned Brigadier-General by Governor James Orr and served as mayor of Charleston from 1871-1873.  Fort Wagener on Morris Island is named for him.  A number of iron crosses are prominent across the cemetery and most names are of German origin including Pieper, Wendelken, Busch, Kaufmann, Stucke, and Bauknight. The church fronts Main Street and just a few blocks north in the center median is an historic Confederate monument as well as a smaller one depicting the great seal of the Confederacy, a cannon and a flag pole displaying the Confederate Battle flag which is actually maintained by the local Sons of Confederate Veterans.

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