Bridge renamed to give Harriet Tubman her due 145 years later

Harriet Tubman is getting her due in Beaufort County, 145 years after taking part in a raid on Confederate troops at the Combahee River, which helped Union troops claim more territory during the Civil War and freed hundreds of slaves.

The new bridge that crosses the Combahee on U.S. 17 -- formerly known as the Steel Bridge -- was renamed the Harriet Tubman Bridge during a ceremony Saturday afternoon.

Two years ago, when work began on the new bridge, state Reps. Kenneth Hodges, D-Green Pond, Robert Brown, D-Hollywood, and William Bowers, D-Hampton, sponsored a resolution asking the S.C. Department of Transportation to rename the bridge for Tubman.

Hodges said he sponsored the resolution because Tubman's role in the Combahee River Raid, which took place on June 2, 1863, wasn't well-known.

"I knew of her involvement with the Combahee River Raid but it was not reported locally. She spent three years in Beaufort and locally no one is saying anything about it," Hodges said. "Anytime you do any research about Harriet Tubman, you hear about her role in the daring Combahee River Raid."

Early on the morning of June 2, 1863, two Union Navy ships sailed up the Combahee and troops began raiding the area, including several nearby plantations, which were destroyed in the fighting.

Although Tubman's role in the raid is up for debate, Hodges said the end result merits recognition.

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