Touring South Carolina's Revolutionary War Sitesby Daniel W. Barefoot
Many historians believe the fortunes of the American Patriots during the Revolutionary War turned dramatically on the battlefields of North and South Carolina. This guide travels to such sites in South Carolina as Cowpens, Ninety Six, Camden, Eutaw Springs, and Kings Mountain. It also includes relevant historic sites in many of South Carolina's towns, including Charleston, Columbia, Winnsboro, and Georgetown. The tours also incorporate anecdotes involving some of the important players in America's fight for independence, including Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, Andrew Jackson, Henry Drayton, Charles Pinckney, and Henry Middleton.
Read an Excerpt
In 1775, Ninety Six was a vibrant place in the South Carolina back country. Although the village proper consisted of only twelve houses, a courthouse, and a jail, there were nearly a hundred people living nearby. Local sentiments were equally divided between independence and loyalty to the Crown.
To arouse sympathy for the cause of independence and to enlist aid from local Patriots, the South Carolina Council of Safety dispatched William H. Drayton and the Reverend William Tennent from Charleston to Ninety Six in August 1775. Almost immediately, local Tory leaders Robert and Patrick Cunningham, Thomas Fletchell, Moses Kirkland, and Thomas Brown organized a band of Loyalist forces. By September, the thousand Patriots under Drayton faced a much larger force of Tories. Yielding to superior numbers, Drayton agreed to sign a treaty to avert bloodshed.
Soon thereafter, Robert Cunningham renounced the treaty on the grounds that no one had the authority to sign it on his behalf. Upon learning of Cunningham's growing militancy, Major Andrew Williamson led a Patriot force to Ninety Six, where the outspoken Tory was arrested and taken prisoner.
Tensions continued to mount when the Tories learned that the Patriots were transporting a sizable shipment of guns and munitions to the Cherokee Indians in western South Carolina. Fearing that the Patriots were arming the Indians to be their allies, Patrick Cunningham seized the Patriot convoy and the shipment as it passed through the area
. Incensed by this overt act of warfare by the Tories, the Council of Safety ordered the forces under Colonel Richard Richardson to march from Camden to put an end to the growing Tory strength. Meanwhile, Major Williamson was forced to fortify the Patriots' position near the courthouse at Ninety Six upon learning that a large army of Tories was marching toward the village.
On November 19, 1775, the showdown was at hand. Williamson could count but 562 Patriots in the crude fort, while his adversary had 1,890 armed men spoiling for a fight. During surrender negotiations, two of Williamson's men were taken captive. The brash young major ordered their rescue. In the mayhem that followed, the first South Carolinian to give his life for the cause of independence fell to a Tory bullet. Ironically, the last soldier to fall on South Carolina soil in the Revolution died almost seven years to the day later, on November 14, 1782....
Meet the Author
Dan Barefoot was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 18, 1951. He is a 1973 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of law.
Dan Barefoot is the author of four travel guides, Touring the Backroads of North Carolina’s Upper Coast, Touring the Backroads of North Carolina’s Lower Coast, Touring South Carolina’s Revolutionary War Sites, and Touring North Carolina’s Revolutionary War Sites; the biography of esteemed confederate general Robert Hoke entitled General Robert F. Hoke: Lee’s Modest Warrior; and a trilogy of ghost stories representing all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Seaside Spectres, Piedmont Phantoms, and Haints of the Hills. Barefoot’s most recent books are Haunted Halls of Ivy: Ghosts of Southern Colleges and Universities, Let Us Die Like Brave Men, Hark the Sound of Tar Heel Voices, and Spirits of ’76.
From 1998 until 2002, Barefoot served three terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives, representing the 44th district. He has also served on numerous boards and is active in his church and community. Barefoot currently serves as the city attorney for Lincolnton, North Carolina. He is a frequent speaker to cultural, civic, and church groups throughout the Southeast.
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