South Carolina's pivotal role in the US Revolution is well documented throughout the state, mostly around Camden and Kings Mountain as well as Cowpens near the NC state line, where much of the fighting took place. While most of these key battles and sites are maintained by the National Parks system, there are four state parks dedicated to telling these Revolutionary stories.
Andrew Jackson State Park
Dedicated to telling the Revolutionary history of Andrew Jackson and his family, Andrew Jackson State Park is located near his birthplace in the state's Olde English District. His uncle's farm where he was born was along the state line, which has changed a little since Jackson's day.
Though the original buildings are long gone, a replica of an 18th-century schoolhouse shows what life would have been like in this primitive area around the time of the American Revolution.
Living history events are held throughout the year to depict life during the Revolution, and the park celebrates Jackson's birthday each March. Visitors can participate in outdoors activities that reflect life in the South Carolina backwoods, camping, fishing and non-motorized boating.
You can hike nature trails that a young hunter might have stalked for prey and enjoy the flora, including the endangered Schweinitz's sunflower, which can be seen in full bloom in the fall.
Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
The Battle of Musgrove Mill was important for several reasons. South Carolina militiamen defeated a superior force using the guerrilla tactics still being developed by Gens. Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion.
Despite the small size of the victory, it did show the Patriots and British alike that the southern states would not fall as quickly as the British had hoped. Also, the battle was largely fought by soldiers on both sides who were considered American and shows clearly that the Revolutionary War was not just Patriots vs. British soldiers, but also Patriots vs. Loyalists who supported the crown.
Today, Musgrove Mill offers an interpretive center to explain the ins and outs of this small but important battle that bolstered morale in the South Carolina backcountry between the defeat at Camden and the victory at Kings Mountain. The park hosts a Living History weekend each spring with reenactors.
Landsford Canal State Park
The canal at Landsford Canal State Park was not built until some 40 years after the Revolutionary War. The area, however, was heavily involved in troop movements during the war because of the relative ease of crossing the Catawba River at this point. In fact, it was a crossing point for the native people who lived here before the arrival of English settlers.
A Daughters of the American Revolution marker located on the park denotes the area's use as a historic and prehistoric crossing. The crossing point was part of a deed for Thomas Land in 1754 and became known as Land's Ford.
More than 20 years later, both British and Patriot troops under Gen. Charles Cornwallis and Thomas Sumter crossed the Catawba here after pivotal battles, particularly the battles of Hanging Rock and Kings Mountain.
Listed in the National Register in 1969, the state park includes the canal and a museum, which is housed in the restored Great Falls Canal lockkeeper's house. Today, the state park is best known as the spot for paddlers to enjoy the rare rocky shoals spider lilies that bloom along the Catawba River.
Hampton Plantation State Park
Located inside the Francis Marion National Forest in McClellanville, the Hampton Plantation State Park is home to an 18th-century plantation that also was a haven for families during the Revolutionary War. A thriving rice plantation, the grounds of the home also helped hide Francis Marion - known as the "Swamp Fox" - when British troops came to the plantation looking for him.
Don't miss the massive Washington Oak, a live oak tree saved by President George Washington, or so the story goes. When Washington visited the plantation in 1791, the owners were considering cutting the tree down because it obscured the view from the house. He suggested saving the tree, and they did.
The home was owned by a who's-who of South Carolina history, including the Horry family, and the families of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Rutledges and the Pinckneys.
It was a Rutledge descendant, South Carolina poet laureate Archibald Rutledge, who sold the land to the state in 1971. The home remains as one of the most impressive examples of Georgian architecture in the state.