An April 2005 trip
to South Carolina by chadk78
Quote: The South Carolina Upcountry and Piedmont regions encompass a landscape made up of rolling green fields, forests, and rocky hillsides. During the years 1780-81, this area became the setting for some of the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution.
This plan would, however, backfire on them. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, in several different episodes, would alienate the frontiersmen and turn them against the British. The result would be battles, such as Kings Mountain and Cowpens, that would turn the tide of the war and be the death knell for England's attempt to retain the Americans as colonists. Men ,whose names are now familiar to South Carolina history buffs, such as Nathaniel Greene, Daniel Morgan, Andrew Pickens, Lighthorse Harry Lee, and a young boy named Andrew Jackson would become heroes in this part of the state.
The can't-miss sights here are, of course, the National Park Service properties(Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and Ninety-Six), as well as Historic Brattonsville and Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. In addition to the sites I have listed here, some battles such as Hanging Rock and Buford's Massacre are simply designated by historical markers. The natural scenery in this part of the state is outstanding, and is an added bonus to the wealth of historical sites.
Attraction | "Andrew Jackson State Historic Site"
A statue of Jackson on horseback, entitled "Boy of the Waxhaws", was created by sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington(of Brookgreen Gardens fame) and is located on the park grounds. Designed to resemble an 18th-century frontier blockhouse, the park's museum displays exhibits about the life of Andrew Jackson and everyday life in the South Carolina backcountry. There is also a replica of a one-room log schoolhouse, much like the one Jackson would have attended as a boy, which is surrounded by an herb garden and orchard. Other recreational activities at the park include camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, living history programs, and concerts. It is open daily from 9am to 9pm during the summer and from 8am to 6pm during the winter. Admission is $2/adult. For more information, go to www.southcarolinaparks.com.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 11, 2005
Andrew Jackson State Park
196 Andrew Jackson Park RD
Lancaster, South Carolina 29720
Attraction | "Musgrove's Mill State Historic Site"
Earthworks dug by the Patriot militia can still be seen at the battlefield today. A relatively short trail (1.5 miles) is dotted with interpretive signage and monuments to the battle's heroes.
The visitor center, rustic in appearance, offers information about the battle of Musgrove's Mill, as well as other South Carolina Revolutionary War sites. It serves as a hub for the state's Cradle of Democracy initiative, which strives to better publicize, preserve, and interpret the state's many Revolutionary War battlefields. Special events, living history programs, and reenactments are held here on a regular basis. A nature trail allows visitors to explore the Enoree River, Cedar Shoals Creek, and Horseshoe Falls. The park is open during daylight hours and charges a $2 adult admission fee. For more information, go to www.southcarolinaparks.com.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 14, 2005
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Clinton, South Carolina
Moore and his sons served in the Patriot militia during the American Revolution. Even Kate, his oldest daughter, served as a scout for General Daniel Morgan prior to and during the nearby battle of Cowpens.
Because of the family's role in support of the Patriot cause, their farm became a target for the ruthless and aptly nicknamed Bloody Bill Cunningham, a local Tory. Cunningham led a group of loyalist in a raid of Walnut Grove shortly before the battle of Cowpens. Two Patriot militiamen who were nearby tried to stop them but were killed. Another who was sick and being cared for in the Moores' home was killed in his bed by Cunningham himself. These men were buried in the Moore family cemetery, which may be seen on the property today.
Several things about this plantation make it unique from others. It is the only plantation I have visited that has a Conestoga wagon on the property. Much like a town within itself, the plantation also has a schoolhouse and a doctor’s quarters, in addition to the traditional farm outbuildings. Andrew Moore, who lived here, was the area's first doctor. The school was also started by the Moore family and the first in the area. All outbuildings and the grounds are self-guided. In addition to the cemetery, the grounds also feature an herb garden and half-mile nature trail. Walnut Grove is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday from 2 to 5pm. Admission is $4.50/adult. For more information, please visit www.spartanarts.org/history/Historical_Association/Index.htm
Walnut Grove Plantation
1200 Otts Shoals Rd.
Roebuck, South Carolina 29376
This battlefield includes a 3-mile driving tour with interpretive waysides at significant battle sites, as well as a 1.5-mile walking trail. I found the walking trail to be a much better experience, as you follow the footsteps of the British and experience the battlefield as they might have. It also makes it easier to visualize how well thought-out General Morgan's battle plan was. The 1830 Scruggs Cabin is a log home typical of the era. The Visitors Center features exhibits pertaining to the battle, authentic artifacts such as guns, swords, and cannons, and a short film called "Daybreak at the Cowpens".
It takes about 1 hour to tour the battlefield. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm, and admission to the grounds is free. A $1/adult admission fee is charged for the movie. The nearby town of Gaffney provides a wide variety of accomodations, restaurants, and shopping. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/cowp.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 15, 2005
Cowpens National Battlefield
SC Hwy. 11
Chesnee, South Carolina PO Box 308
One of the church's early clergymen was Rev. McElhaney, who built the nearby house at Fort Hill(see my journal about Clemson) and is buried in the cemetery. One of the church's founders, Andrew Pickens, is also buried in the cemetery. A hero of the battle of Cowpens, Pickens was known to the Cherokee as the "Wizard Owl". In a battle known as "the ring fight", he led an outnumbered force of patriot militiamen to victory, after being surrounded by nearly 200 Cherokee warriors. Pickens set fire to a canebrake, which made loud popping sounds, and fooled the Cherokees into believing heavily armed reinforcements were coming. A rugged frontiersman, who knew the backcountry well, Pickens was awarded an ornamental sword by Congress for his heroics during the Revolution. Today, both a town and county in South Carolina bear his name.
Col. Robert Anderson, a patriot comrade of Pickens', is also buried here along with several other notables. The cemetery and grounds are open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8am to 6pm. A wrought-iron gate is locked during closed hours.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 15, 2005
Old Stone Church
U.S. Highway 76
Pickens, South Carolina
Attraction | "Ninety-Six National Historic Site"
You will follow the 1-mile paved trail through a mixed pine/hardwood forest before reaching a clearing, where you begin to see interpretive markers detailing the various battle positions.
The backcountry outpost of Ninety-Six(got its name from being 96 miles from the Cherokee capital at Keowee)witnessed two major battles in the Revolution. On November 19, 1775, Maj. Andrew Williamson attacked a loyalist force at this outpost, in the first land battle of the Southern campaign.
Later, in 1780, Cornwallis' troops occupied the village and built an earthen fortification, known as "the Star Fort" because of its shape. Beginning on May 22, 1781, General Nataniel Greene and 1000 patriot soldiers besieged the fort for nearly a month. One of the patriot officers in this siege was Lighthorse Harry Lee, father of famous Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The patriots dug a series of trenches and tunnels to give them protection in their advance on the fort. This would be some of the first trench warfare in military history.
The loyalist defenders inside the fort were commanded by Lt. Col. John Cruger Harris. On June 19, Harris would be reinforced by Lord Rawdon and 2000 British Regulars, forcing the Continentals to retreat. However, the British would abandon Ninety-Six two weeks later and flee to Charleston.
A primitive log home from the period, as well as a reconstructed stockade fort, used by the British to imprison Patriots, are also part of the self-guided tour. The park grounds are open during daylight hours, but the visitors center is only open 8am to 5pm. No admission is charged. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/nisi.
Ninety Six National Historic Site
PO Box 418
Ninety Six, South Carolina 29666
A large portion of the colonial village of Camden is now preserved inside a 92-acre park, known as Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. The British occupied this part of Camden for 11 months in 1780. The park offers guided and self-guided tours. The Joseph Kershaw house, built by one of the town's prominent citizens, was the headquarters of Lord Cornwallis during his occupation of the town. This house is furnished with period antiques, as is the 1785 Craven House. The Bradley House is a log cabin with a sandstone chimney. It is typical of what most backcountry people lived in during the colonial period and houses exhibits about 18th-century Camden. Restored military fortifications and a powder magazine built by the British are also on the grounds. A living history encampment is held here the first week of every November. The park also includes a nature trail, picnic area, and gift shop. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sundays from 1am to 5pm. Admission to the grounds is free, but guided tours are $5/adult.
The park also offers bus tours to Camden's two major battle sites. The Battle of Camden (August 16, 1780) was the worst defeat the Continental army faced during the war. British regulars under Lord Rawdon repulsed Horatio Gates' Continentals, who were attempting to take back Camden. After Gates retreated, a force of 650 men under Baron DeKalb continued to fight until DeKalb was mortally wounded. A historical marker and granite monument stand at the spot where he fell.
The Battle of Hobkirk's Hill (April 25, 1781) was a tactical victory for Lord Rawdon's Regulars. Outnumbered by nearly 600 men, they surprised Nathaniel Greene's Continentals while they were eating breakfast. Despite the victory, Rawdon abandoned Camden overnight, knowing that Greene would receive reinforcements the next day.
The grave of Baron DeKalb may be visited at Bethesda Presbyterian Church on DeKalb Street. DeKalb was born in Germany in 1721, but moved to France at the age of 16. Changing his name from Johann Kalb to Jean DeKalb, he rose quickly in the French army, and in 1764, married a wealthy heiress. At the age of 55, he left Europe, never to return. He and his good friend Marquis de Lafayette first arrived in South Carolina in 1776. Both disliked the British and made significant contributions to the patriot cause. When the Greek Revival church was built in 1822, Lafayette had a monument placed on the front lawn in honor of DeKalb. The church was designed by famous architect Robert Mills, who designed the Washington Monument, and has a unique steeple located on the back side of the building.
Outside of the Revolution, Camden is known for its horse races (The Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup). The National Steeplechase Museum depicts the area's horse culture. The town was also home to six Confederate generals, who are honored at Monument Square (Broad and Laurens Streets). It was also the setting for the last duel in South Carolina in 1880.
Walking tour maps of Camden are available through the Camden-Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce. The Camden Carriage Company offers horse-drawn carriage tours. Many of the towns historic buildings, not open to the public, may be seen on these tours. For more information about Camden, please visit www.camden-sc.org.
Old St. David's Episcopal Church, constructed of materials brought from England in 1770, was the last church in South Carolina to be established under authority of the King George II. In 1780, it was occupied by Cornwallis' 71st Regiment of British Regulars. After a smallpox epidemic broke out in the area, it was used as a hospital. Nearly 50 British soldiers died from the disease and were buried in a mass grave in the churchyard. The church has housed four different armies in its history (Patriot, British, Confederate, and Union). The church is not open regularly, but a key may be picked up at the Greater Cheraw Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce, located at 221 Market Street, also provides walking tour maps of the historic district.
Cheraw is also known as the birthplace of legendary jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie. He is honored by a monument on the town green. For more information, visit www.cheraw.com/visitor.htm.
Winnsboro was named for Major Richard Winn, a prominent patriot leader who played an important part in the battles of Hanging Rock and Blackstock's Farm. Major Winn built the house at Bratton and Zion Streets as a wedding gift for his daughter. His daughter's husband was Colonel William Bratton, one of Winn's comrades, and the house is today known as the Bratton House. This two-story house with white clapboard siding is typical of the area's colonial-era houses. Col. Bratton's grandson, John, would be a Confederate general. Sherman's troops occupied the house in 1865.
Fortune Springs Garden, a small park located at the corner of W. High and N. Park Streets, sits on a plot of land given to Pompey Fortune after the Revolutionary War. Fortune, a freed slave, served as General Lafayette's personal servant from 1777 to 1782.
The Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce, located in the center of town at the old clock tower, has self-guided walking tour maps that point out all of the town's historic sites. For more information, check out www.fairfieldchamber.org/history.html.
During the summer of 1780, Lord Cornwallis ordered Ferguson to defeat local patriot militia and recruit loyalists in the South Carolina and North Carolina backcountry. Ferguson issued a proclamation to the patriots "to give their loyalty to England or die". This so enraged the frontiersmen that they formed a militia group called the Overmountain Men, who vowed to kill Ferguson. These men, from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, met at a place called Sycamore Shoals(modern-day Tennessee), and marched 220 miles to meet Ferguson.
They finally surrounded him on an obscure 150-foot hill called Kings Mountain, located on the North and South Carolina border. The thick forests, large boulders, and deep ravines of the area served as perfect cover for the attacking frontiersmen. On their third attempt, in less than an hour, the rough backwoodsmen were able to take the summit of the "mountain". Ferguson, riding a horse and wearing a checked hunting shirt, was shot and killed. After this, the Tories surrendered and many scattered to the winds. The Overmountain Men had accomplished their mission, but had done much more than they knew. They had turned the tide of the war and dealt Cornwallis a blow from which he would not recover.
Kings Mountain National Military Park today preserves nearly 3,000 acres of hardwood forest on the site of this important battle. A visitors center houses exhibits about the battle, a gift shop/bookstore, and shows a 20-minute documentary made by the History Channel. The 1.5-mile battlefield trail is paved and relatively moderate to walk. Historical markers, pointing out key battle positions, and monuments are located all along the sides of the trail. The most notable monument is located on the summit of Kings Mountain; it resembles the Washington Monument. Major Ferguson's grave, also located next to the trail, is a Scottish cairn(basically, a pile of rocks). A monument honoring Ferguson was erected here by the British government after World War II, as a symbol of their friendship to the United States. According to local legend, it is good luck to throw a rock on Ferguson's grave (which I'm sure has grown increasingly larger over the years).
It takes about 1.5 hours to fully experience the whole park, however, neighboring Kings Mountain State Park offers an additional 7,000 acres of camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing. It also features a Living History Farm, which is a collections of 19th-century log structures, including a homeplace, cotton gin, and blacksmith shop.
It would suggest visiting in April or October. In April, the weather is very nice and the blooming dogwood trees are beautiful. The fall foliage is very nice in October, plus the anniversary of the battle is held every year during the first week of the month. The park is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM and charges no admission. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/kimo.
However, in 1780, it became the scene of bloody battle between loyalist Tories and Patriot militia. Captain Christian Huck and his force of dragoons arrived at the Bratton Farm on July 12 after destroying Hill's Ironworks and several patriot farms. Upon arrival, they took three men prisoner and ordered Mrs. Bratton to cook some food. They then threatened violence if she did not disclose the location of her husband, who was serving under General Sumter. However, a local Tory, who knew the Brattons, would not let them harm her. That night, as the loyalists camped at nearby Williamson Plantation, Mrs. Bratton sent a slave named Watt to get her husband.
William Bratton came quickly with a small group of patriot militia, including William Hill, whose ironworks had been destroyed. They completely surprised the Tories and killed Captain Huck, along with 35 others. Most of the rest were taken prisoner. Many of these same patriots who participated in this victorious battle would also be present at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
This battle is reenacted annually at Historic Brattonsville. Interpretive markers point out various battle sites. The 1770 Bratton Home where Mrs. Bratton was threatened by Captain Huck is also part of the tour.
When you arrive at the complex, you will purchase tickets at the visitor center. You will be given a map and proceed on your way. The 18th-century structures and battle markers are all located on the same side of the road as the visitor center.
Across the road is the 19th-century plantation segment of the tour. The 1823 Homestead House is quite impressive. It was used as Benjamin Martin's (Mel Gibson) house during filming of "The Patriot." A room on the first floor is dedicated to the film and houses props used and photos taken during the filming. A large portion of the movie was filmed in various places around the complex.
Costumed interpreters present living history programs and still work farm, which includes a variety of crops and domestic animals. This place gives you a true feeling of what life was like in 18th- and 19th-century South Carolina. They do a great job of presenting the everyday life of African-American residents, as well as that of the Bratton family.
The 8-mile Walt Schrader Trail allows access for pedestrians, bicycles, and horseback riders. The visitor center has a gift shop, public restrooms, and a picnic area. Historic Brattonsville is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Admission is $6/adult. For more information on the complex, as well as a listing of special events, go to www.yorkcounty.org.
Blacksburg, South Carolina