Onslaught at Springmaid Pier

By Henry H. Mitchell, December 2008.

Waves at Springmaid Pier, Myrtle Beach

Waves crash beneath Springmaid Pier.

At times the Atlantic's waves may lap gently at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but they almost never seem gentle beneath Springmaid Pier. The pier's pilings present an obstacle course which the waves attack with noisy fury.

With mathematical precision they come, each wave followed rhythmically by another. On a day when swells are high, the waves start breaking far from shore, smashing and frothing at each set of pilings as they hurl themselves forward.

As the waves go down, they seem to throw their hands into the air and shout. I can't help but think of the similarly crashing waves of the futile assaults of Gen. Burnside at Fredericksburg and of Gen. Pickett at Gettysburg. That I can't help but think that way is, I suppose, proof that I am a Southerner. The handed-down references are still painful to contemplate. My wife's great-great-grandfather Alexander “Sandy” Beaver died of wounds received at Fredericksburg; and our home town of Chatham, Virginia's boys of the Chatham Greys achieved the “high water mark of the Confederacy” at Gettysburg, but they all fell dead, wounded, or captured, and both their immediate goal and their ultimate Cause ebbed away.

Likewise, each wave beneath Springmaid Pier falls and ebbs, but its goal is met and its cause continues.

This guide to Myrtle Beach is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.