Revolutionary History Comes Alive at These Upstate SC Battlefields

With more battles and skirmishes fought right here in South Carolina than in any other colony during the Revolutionary War, the Upstate is home to several historic battlefields. And as we get ready to celebrate our freedom from Great Britain and the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, consider a visit to one of these six great Upstate battlefields.

King's Mountain National Military Park

Dubbed “the turn of the tide of success,” by Jefferson Davis, 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 7th, 1780 and although only an hour long it changed the course of the Revolutionary War.

The 4,000-acre Kings Mountain National Military 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 26-minute film that shows every 45 minutes.

The park is free and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (extended hours Memorial Day through Labor Day means the park is open until 6:00 p.m. on weekends).

Independence Day Events: On July 1-2, the Backcountry Militia will demonstrate a variety of 18th century activities (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday the 1st, and 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday). On Saturday evening, July 1, the 440th Army Band will perform patriotic music at 6:00 p.m. in the Visitor Center Amphitheater. Click here for details.

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 Cowpens National 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.

Independence Day Events: On July 1, the park’s Celebration of Freedom events include guided battlefield walks, weapons firing demonstrations, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a dramatic 1st-person performance called “Freedom Fighter: The Story of Scipio,” and children’s activities.

Ninety Six National Historic Site

This site is home to two Revolutionary War battles that claimed the lives of more than one hundred settlers. The first Southern battle of the war was fought here. The Visitor's Center at Ninety Six National Historic Site has a twenty minutes film which depicts the battles and an exhibit gallery.

The Visitor’s Center is free and open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. except for major holidays.  Park grounds are open dawn to dusk.

Independence Day Event: On Saturday, July 1, an interactive station allows visitors to add their names to the signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as to write a letter with a period quill pen and seal it with wax (10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.). Ranger-led tours are conducted on the weekend throughout July.

Musgrove Mill

The battle that took place at Musgrove Mill on August 19, 1780 was a short, 30-minute fight, 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.

Musgrove Mill State Historic Site has an interpretive center and trails along the Enoree River.

The park is free and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Independence Day Event: On July 8 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., a guided hike of the battlefield trail will follow the 1.3-mile trail to part of the battlefield. Cost of the event is $2 per person; space is limited, so reservations are recommended.

Walnut Grove Plantation

Locate near Roebuck, this plantation was established in 1765 from a 550-acre land grant. The Moorefamily, 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 Saturdays 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.

Independence Day Event: On July 8, a special “Celebrating Independence” living history Saturday will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and visitors can go back in history to see what life was like at the time of the Revolution.

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. And don’t forget to check our events page for more 4th of July events near you!

Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine,, USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, See the South, Beckett Media, The Simpsonville Sentinel and many other print and online publications. For clips and examples of her work, please visit her website at