Revolutionary War Sites in the Upcountry
Independence Day, also known as July 4th, is when we, the citizens of the United States, celebrate our freedom from Great Britain. It was marked by signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and we commemorate the event with parties, parades and fireworks. But did you know that there were more battles and skirmishes fought right here in South Carolina than in any other colony during the Revolutionary War? So to commemorate this, plan a visit to one of these Upcountry battlefields.
Kings Mountain National Military Park Dubbed “the turn of the tide of success,” by Thomas Jefferson, the battle of Kings Mountain was the first major patriot triumph after the British invasion of Charleston and was an important American victory. The significant battle took place on October 7, 1780 and although only an hour long it changed the course of the Revolutionary War. The 4000-acre park is one of the largest revolutionary war sites in the country. Located near Blacksburg in Cherokee County, the park features a 1.5 mile battle trail, an exhibit area and a twenty-six minute film that shows every forty-five minutes. The park is free and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (it stays open until 6:00 p.m. on weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day).
Cowpens National Battlefield The battle at Cowpens was a major victory for colonial forces and was key to the surrender of British Commander Cornwallis that ultimately led to the end of the war in 1783. The 845-acre park features a Visitors Center, the battlefield area, a walking trail and an auto loop trail. The park is free and open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site The battle that took place at Musgrove Mill on August 19, 1780 was a short (about 30 minutes) but very bloody battle. In fact, Isaac Shelby, a Colonel that fought both at Musgrove Mill and Kings Mountain stated in his memoirs that the battle at Musgrove Mill was the fiercest battle in which he ever fought. The brief battle was between a small detachment of Colonial Patriots against a larger group of British Loyalists. But despite the odds, the Patriots were victorious and the battle was considered an important turning point in the war. The park is free and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Oconee Station State Historic Site There were no revolutionary battles fought at Oconee Station, but its claim to fame is that it served as a military compound and trading post. The stone blockhouse was used as an outpost by the South Carolina State Militia from 1792 until 1799 as is the only remaining building of the fort Oconee Station. Admission is free and the site is open Apr. 1-Nov. 30, 9am-6pm, daily. Seasonal hours of operation Dec. 1 – Mar. 31, closed Mon.-Thur. Open Fri-Sun, 9am-6pm. Historic structures are open from 1pm – 5pm Sa-Su with guided tours available.
Walnut Grove Plantation Locate near Roebuck, this plantation was established in 1765 from a 550-acre land grant. The Moore family, who owned Walnut Grove Plantation, were active patriot supporters and allowed the militia to muster here during the war. Loyalist William Cunningham killed three Patriot soldiers sheltered at the plantation in 1781. Walnut Grove is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. They are closed Mondays and Holidays and hours change November through March so it’s best to check their website before you visit. Cost is $10.00 per adult, $8.00 for children 2-12, and children under 2 are free.
Also, as you are driving around, be on the lookout for historical markers. There are 495 US Revolutionary War historical markers in South Carolina alone. For a complete list, visit the Historical Marker Database.
Adapted from an article by Sherry Jackson, a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Please visit her website at www.dragonflyventures.com.