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 year, plan a visit to one of these Upstate battlefields.
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 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).
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: On June 30th, 2012 and July 1, 2012 the park will hold revolutionary re-enactments and encampments.
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.
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: On Saturday, July 7th Cowpens will hold its Celebration of Freedom Event. This free event will feature local re-enactors, guided walks, firing demonstrations and other special activities. There will also be a fireworks display that begins at 9:05 p.m.
This site actually is home to two Revolutionary War battle sites that claimed the lives of over one hundred settlers. The first Southern battle of the war was fought here. The Visitor's Center has a twenty minutes film which depicts the battles and an exhibit gallery.
The Visitor's Center is free and open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. except for New Year's Day, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. The grounds are open daylight to dusk.
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: No special events planned but guided walks and talks will be offered on June 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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.
The Upstate Information Hub featured this amazing park in an April Uniquely Upstate e-newsletter.
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: No special events planned for the 4th of July but on August 18th they will hold a special ceremony to honor those that fought in the Battle at Musgrove Mill. Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution will be on hand as well as other historians and re-enactors.
This is considered to be one of the most important and heavily visited historical sites in South Carolina. With over 775 acres and 30 buildings it's steeping in Revolutionary history.
The Battle of Huck's Defeat was an important event in the Revolutionary War and was fought at Brattonsville. In 1780 a British Legion under the command of Captain Christian Huck was dispatched by loyalist Lieutenant Colonel Turnbull to destroy Whig militia camps in the area. Huck was also given instruction by Turnbull to capture Colonel William Bratton (and others) who had just returned home to enlist more recruits for the war. The Whigs heard of this plan, rallied against the British soldiers and won the battle, killing Captain Huck in the process. This battle is believed to have revived the morale of the people in South Carolina and was the beginning of a series of victories including battles at King's Mountain and Cowpens, which eventually led to the British surrendering at Yorktown in 1781.
Historic Brattonsville, located in York County, is open Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. until 5p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Keep in mind though if you are going on a Saturday, the interpreters usually leave around 3 p.m.
Admission is $6.00 for Adults, $5.00 for seniors (60+) and $3.00 for kids (4-17). There are special events throughout the year where admission may be higher. It's best to check before you go.
See the South featured Brattonsville in an article earlier this year.
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: On July 4, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. the 34th South Carolina Militia unit will be on site for firing demonstrations and drills. Other activities including period games, cooking demonstrations and patriotic readings will also be on going.
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.
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: A Frontier Encampment will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Learn what Oconee Station was like right after the Revolutionary War when it was a frontier outpost.
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 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 $6.00 per adult, $3.00 for children 5-17, and children 4 and younger are free.
INDEPENDENCE DAY EVENT: Nothing special planned.
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.
Sherry Jackson is a freelance writer, editor and entrepreneur. Her articles have been featured in InfoWorld Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, 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 www.dragonflyventures.com.