WINNSBORO — Monday night the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans held a memorial service for General John Bratton at the St. John’s Episcopal cemetery.
Bratton (1831-1898) is Fairfield County’s only Civil War General and he lived in the Wynne Dee home, on the corner of Bratton Street and North Zion.
Pelham Lyles, director of the Fairfield County Museum, began the ceremony with opening remarks referring to Bratton’s childhood, and how it reflected on her own.
“Being a child and growing up at Mt. Zion and playing on the dirt seeing all the artifacts that would get shifted up with our shoes as we were playing hopscotch , marbles and such there was stuff that I didn’t know what it was,” Lyles remembered. “But come to find out it was the same stuff that General Bratton had played with as a little boy in that same spot.”
Bratton took his early schooling across the field from the Wynne Dee home at Mt. Zion Institute, which was established in 1776 and became one of the best college prep schools in the state of South Carolina.
After Mt. Zion, the Winnsboro-born General went on to graduate from South Carolina College at Columbia in 1850 and from South Carolina Medical College at Charleston in 1853. He practiced medicine in Winnsboro from 1853-1861.
Bratton enlisted in the Confederate States Army in April 1861 and a year later became the colonel of the sixth South Carolina regiment. In June 1862, Bratton suffered a severe injury to his left arm and shoulder during the Battle of Seven Pines. Union forces captured him, but after hearing of Bratton’s gallantry released him two months later.
In May 1864, Bratton was promoted to brigadier general of the largest army in north Virginia. However, at the end of the war he surrendered his brigade at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
After the war, he represented Fairfield in the South Carolina senate from 1865-1867 and as a United States congressional representative from 1884-1885. Following that stint, Bratton retired and engaged in planting in Winnsboro where he died in 1898.
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