Friday, Feb. 7, 2014

Ceremony will honor Confederate soldier

By Travis Highfield
Staff Writer

The Sgt. Berry Benson Camp of the Sons of Confed­erate Veterans will honor its namesake with a birthday celebration and flagpole dedication ceremony in North Augusta on Sunday.

The ceremony will be held next to the Con­fed­erate soldier’s grave at Sunset Hill Ceme­tery at 3 p.m., said Lt. Commander Curtis M. Wright of the Sgt. Berry Benson Camp.

Guest speaker Wayne Jones, the 5th Brigade commander of the Sons of Con­fed­erate Veterans, will share insights on Benson’s life as a Confederate soldier. Confed­erate re-enactors will be present, and a new flagpole at Benson’s grave site will be dedicated, Wright said.

Benson, born Feb. 9, 1843, in Hamburg, S.C., gained notoriety during the Civil War for his ability in scouting enemy locations, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

“He was kind of a Mac­Gyver type,” Wright said. “He escaped from prison multiple times (during the war) and crossed enemy lines disguising himself as a Union soldier. He’s a local hero.”

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

Later in life, Benson settled in the Augusta area to work as an accountant, moving into his home in North Augusta in the early 1900s, according to Augusta Chronicle archives.

Benson’s likeness has been immortalized on top of the Confederate Monument in the 700 block of Broad Street. The monument was dedicated in 1878.

© 2014 Morris Publishing, Inc.

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