An April 2005 trip
to South Carolina by chadk78
Quote: When most people think of our country's struggle for independence from England, places in the northeast, like Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, and Valley Forge, come to mind. However, South Carolina was the scene of more Revolutionary War battles than any other colony, rightfully earning it the title "Battleground of Freedom".
My tour of South Carolina's Revolutionary War sites extended from Beaufort at the southern tip of the state, to Ninety-Six in the northwestern corner. Not only is this state chock-full of history, it also has some fine natural scenery. While you are discovering the exploits of Patriots, Tories, Continentals, and Regulars, enjoy the ride. Fortunately for you, it should be much more pleasant than the visit that Cornwallis and Tarleton had, over 220 years ago. This journal is the first of a two-part series. It covers sites located in South Carolina's lowcountry, or the part of the state that is south and southeast of Columbia. Part 2 will cover the upcountry.
Today, all that stands of the old church are four brick columns and four exterior brick walls containing arched windows and doors. It stands as a true testament to the hardships and warfare that this state has experienced over its 300-year history. The cemetery contains the graves of those brave men who stood for freedom and independence, as well as many others who later followed their example. Several of the tombstones date to before 1700, making them some of the oldest in the state.
This site is just ruins now. However, on a clear morning, when the sun's ray burst through the large, moss-draped live oaks and illuminate the old church, you will not find a more beautiful sight to behold anywhere.
It's a little out of the way, but well worth the drive. Just park across the road and enter through the wrought iron gate. This is a really nice place for a picnic, but even if you forgot your lunch, a visit to this place is always awe-inspiring.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 28, 2005
Old Sheldon Church
Sheldon, South Carolina
After visiting Hayne's Tomb, continue down the dirt road until you see the ruins of an old church on your right. This is Pon Pon Chapel, also known as Burnt Church. John Wesley once preached at this church, originally constructed in 1726. The church burned twice, however, the second time the damages proved too severe to repair.
Continue down the dirt road a short distance further, the Edisto River comes into view, and you can see what remains of some old earthworks. These are believed to date from a battle fought here on August 30, 1781, when British cavalry attempted to destroy a supply depot here. They were unsuccessful, as Francis Marion's troops defeated them and chased them back toward Charleston.
This site may be difficult to locate. Locals in the area are very friendly and will know exactly what you are talking about if you ask.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 28, 2005
In 1775, Francis Marion had a powder magazine built inside the wall of the tabby fort. The British captured the fort in 1780, but Nathaniel Greene forced them to abandon it in 1781. While the British were retreating, they destroyed most structures in the town. All that remains of it today is the St. George's bell tower, the fort's tabby walls, and a log wharf in the river, which is visible at low tide.
The 325-acre park offers an interpretive trail with wayside kiosks detailing the history of the village. A gift shop offers visitor guides and other materials relating to the colonial period. Picnic shelters are available, as is a nature trail that meanders along a small creek. Living history programs and reenactments are held here on a regular basis. Visitors may also assist staff in archaeological digs during weekend programs. The park is open daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission is $2/adult. For more information, go to www.southcarolinaparks.com.
Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
300 State Park Rd.
Summerville, South Carolina 29485
African-American plantation life is also detailed at Eliza's House, a former slave cabin where some of the ex-slaves continued to live for many years after they were freed. The Middleton House was burned by Yankee soldiers in 1865; however, the south wing was spared. The family resided in this structure after the war, and it still stands today. Guided tours of the house are given daily. Inside, visitors will see silver, china, furniture, artwork, and various other momentos belonging to the Middletons. Among these is a silk copy of the Declaration of Independence which belonged to Arthur Middleton. Arthur is buried in the gardens, and his tomb is part of the self-guided garden tour. Middleton Place was also a filming site for The Patriot.
A restaurant located on the property serves traditional lowcountry dishes. It's a little pricey but very good. It takes about 2.5 hours to thoroughly take in the whole place. The grounds are open daily from 9am to 5pm. Adult admission to the gardens and stableyard is $20 for adults but only $5 for children (7-15). The house tour is an additional $10. You can get a good value by purchasing a combination ticket, which includes both Middleton Place and the Edmonston-Alston House (located downtown on the Battery). For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 30, 2005
4300 Ashley River Road
Charleston, South Carolina 29414
On March 29, 1780, British soldiers and Hessian (German) Jagers would sail down the Ashley River and come ashore at Drayton Hall. From this approach, they would lay siege to Charleston and occupy the city, taking over 3,000 patriots prisoner.
One of the finest examples of colonial architecture in the United States, Drayton Hall is the only Ashley River plantation to survive the Yankee Invasion of 1865. According to legend, John Drayton told Union soldiers that the house was serving as hospital for smallpox victims. They believed him, and the house was spared.
The mansion remained the property of the Drayton family for seven generations. It has never been modernized with electricity, plumbing, or other modern conveniences. It appears exactly as it would have 200 years ago, albeit without furnishings or artwork of any kind. The tours here focus on the architecture of the house. The plasterwork and molding, mostly done by slaves, are very impressive. One thing I found interesting outside of the house is the pond, which sits about 100 yards in front of it. If you look at the pond from just the right angle, you can see a reflection of the house. Give yourself at least an hour to enjoy the house, grounds, and gift shop. Drayton Hall is open daily from 10am to 4pm. The house tour is $12. Admissions for the grounds is only $3, but I would not recommend missing out on the wonderful house tour. For additional information, visit www.draytonhall.org.
3380 Ashley River Road
Charleston, South Carolina 29414
Attraction | "Fort Moultrie National Monument"
Because of its contribution to the victorious battle, the patriots began employing the palmetto tree into the design of the South Carolina flag. It would also later become the official state tree.
The present structure, the third on the site, was constructed in 1809. It played an important role in the Confederate defense of Charleston Harbor during the Great Yankee Invasion. I was surprised that the fort was still being used as a coastal defense station, as late as World War II. It was also interesting to learn that Edgar Allen Poe was once stationed here (I didn't know he was ever in the military) and wrote "The Gold Bug" during his stay.
Today, the fort stands as a monument to the memory of those brave patriots who repulsed the British in 1776 and a great place to learn about 18th and 19th Century coastal warfare. The fort's 15-foot walls surround 1.5 acres, and its full armament was made up of 500 men and 40 guns. A visitors center houses exhibits about the fort's history and shows a brief film. The fort is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission to the Visitors Center is free, but it costs $3/adult to enter the fort itself. For additional information, check out www.nps.gov/fomo.
Sullivans Island, South Carolina 29482
Charles Pinckney was one of the early residents of Snee Farm. At the age of 22, Pinckney was elected as a member of the South Carolina General Assembly. He served bravely as an officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Pinckney would also go on to serve four terms as governor of South Carolina, four years as U.S. Ambassador to Spain, as well as seats in the state and national legislatures. However, he is best known by far as a drafter and signer of the U.S. Constitution.
Today, only 28 acres of Snee Farm remain. The house, which serves as the Visitors Center, was built in the 1820s, after Pinckney had sold the property. Interpretive displays tell about the history of the farm, the Pinckney family, the daily working of an 18th-century plantation, and the African-American slaves who lived at Snee Farm. Archaeological remnants of some of the original brick structures are still visible. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/chpi.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 30, 2005
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
1254 Long Point Road
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Much like Drayton Hall, the house is unfurnished and tours focus on the architecture and construction of the house. The grounds feature camellia gardens and the remains of old rice fields. Famous 18th-century visitors included George Washington, Francis Marion, and Marquis de Lafayette. The white facade and columns of the house must have been extremely impressive to 18th-century visitors, much as they are to tourists today. The last resident of the house was Archibald Rutledge, poet laureate of South Carolina. Upon Mr. Rutledge's death, he deeded the property to the state of South Carolina so that its history could be preserved for many more generations.
The park grounds are open free of charge Thursday through Monday from 9am to 6pm. Guided tours of the mansion are given Thursday through Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. Admission to the mansion costs $3/adult. For more information on Hampton Plantation, visit www.southcarolinaparks.com.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 1, 2005
Hampton Plantation State Historic Site
1950 Rutledge Road
Mcclellanville, South Carolina 29459
Hopsewee was the home of Thomas Lynch, a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress who played an important role in creating the Continental Army in 1776. His son, Thomas Lynch, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at Hopsewee on August 5, 1749.
The interior of the house is furnished with 18th- and 19th-century antiques. Among the very impressive interior architectural features are the staircase and the mouldings. This house is rare in that it is a preservation instead of a restoration. It has never been allowed to fall into disrepair and appears much as it would have when the Lynches lived here. Also, unlike many historical houses, every room is open to the public, including the attic and the cellar.
There are a couple of slave cabins on the grounds with information about the African-Americans who lived here, as well as a nature trail that goes along beside the river. If you choose to explore the grounds, please make sure you wear insect repellent. This plantation's location near the river makes it a prime spot for mosquitoes, deer flies, and no-see-ums. When we were there, we were nearly eaten alive!
The plantation is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4pm. A $5/vehicle parking fee is charged for the grounds. House tours are an additional $8/adult. For more information, call 843/546-7891.
494 Hopsewee Road
Georgetown, South Carolina SC 29440
Francis Marion served under William Moultrie during the Cherokee Indian wars of the mid-1700s. After the Revolutionary War began, he served under Moultrie again. He was present at the Battle of Charleston Harbor in 1776, when the British were repulsed by the garrison of the palmetto log fort. In 1780, when the British captured Charleston, Marion fled into the backcountry. He gathered up friends and neighbors from throughout the lowcountry to help protect the area from the invaders. He became a thorn in Cornwallis' side, often disrupting British supply lines by leading surprise attacks from the swamps. Marion became a legend among both the British soldiers and the colonists. Many British soldiers swore that he was some sort of apparition. Both dashing and daring, Marion was never captured, nor was his hideout at Snow Island discovered. Mel Gibson's character in The Patriot is loosely based on Francis Marion. A historical marker and monument now stands on the site of Marion's tomb, located near his brother's plantation, Belleview.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2005
Francis Marion's Tomb
Moncks Corner, South Carolina 29146
The Beaufort Museum, housed in the 1799 Arsenal building, contains two brass cannons which were seized from the British in 1779, among other Revolutionary War artifacts. It is located at 713 Craven Street and open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 4pm. Admission is $2/adult.
St. Helena's Episcpopal Church was founded in 1712, but the present structure was not constructed until 1724. It is one of the oldest churches in America. Among the graves in its cemetery are those of two British officers, killed at the nearby Battle of Port Royal. St. Helena's is open for tours Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm. Tours are free.
Beaufort has quite a few very nice bed-and-breakfasts, housed in historic structures. Nearby Hunting Island State Park has year-round camping and provides beach access, hiking trails, and rental cabins. A 19th-century lighthouse, available for climbing, and an interpretive center, with displays about natural aspects of the area, are also in the park. Beaufort is known for its thriving seafood industry. Shrimp boats in the local creek have become synonymous with the area. Many local restaurants offer fresh seafood, as well as local fare, such as lowcountry boil and frogmore stew. For more information on Beaufort and its surrounding areas, go to www.beaufort.com.
St. Michael's Episcopal Church (ca. 1751) is located at the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets. Its 186-foot-tall steeple has been a very recognizable part of Charleston's skyline for over 250 years. The clock tower and chimes have been active since 1764, except for a short period during the Revolution. During the British occupation of the city, the bells were taken down and sent to England as a war prize. After the war, they were returned. The interior of the church is very elaborate and well worth a look. It's free, so why not?
The Heyward-Washington House (ca.1772), at 87 Church Street, was home to Thomas Heyward, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. However, the house's major claim to fame is that George Washington stayed here during a visit to the city in 1791. The house still includes many of the original furnishings made by 18th-century artisans right here in Charleston. The original kitchen is also still intact and housed in a separate building (to prevent house fires), as are the servants’ quarters. A formal garden includes plants that would have been found here during the 18th century. House tours are given Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $8/adult. For more info, visit www.charlestonmuseum.com.
The Old Powder Magazine (ca. 1712), on Cumberland Street, stored munitions for the city's defense against French, Spanish, Indians, and pirates. It is one of Charleston's oldest structures and is preserved by the Historic Charleston Foundation. During the Revolution, it served both the patriots and the British, depending upon which occupied the city at the time. Various artifacts from the 18th century, such as clothing, furniture, and weapons, are displayed. Built of stuccoed brick, its red tile roof reminds me of Spanish Renaissance architecture. A wrought iron fence surrounds a courtyard with colonial-era British flags. Open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free, but there is a donation box at the door. Visit www.historiccharleston.org. For more information on the beautiful historic city of Charleston and its surrounding areas, visit www.charlestoncvb.com.
Today, the town is still an important port, but steel and paper have replaced rice and indigo as the main exports. A large historic district includes several dozen pre-Revolutionary structures, and many 18th-century rice plantations still exist in the outlying areas. The Rice Museum, located in the old clock tower on Front Street, includes dioramas and artifacts about the history of these plantations and their impact on the town's development and culture. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4:30pm.
The Kaminski House, overlooking the Sampit River, was constructed in 1769 by Paul Trapier, a leader of the local patriot movement. It contains a large collection of 18th- and 19th-century antiques and only costs $2/adult for a tour. Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church was built in the 1740s and named for the Prince of Wales, who later became King George II. The church, located on Broad Street, was made from materials imported out of England. The stained-glass window behind the altar was English-made. The box pews are typical of the era. Several Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in the cemetery. The church is open to the public, Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 4:20pm. There is no admission fee.
For more information on this historic port city, visit .
Blacksburg, South Carolina