History Subcommittee. Project to obtain Park at site of Battle of Camden SC 16 August 1780 ("Gates' Defeat").

Goals and Plans of the Documentary History Committee The documentary history committee will to produce a comprehensive documentary resource for Battle of Camden scholars, initially as a notebook and an internet web site, containing list of resources, copies of all source documents in the public domain and other historical documentary resources which shed light on the Battle of Camden, its battlefield and the soldiers participating in this action. We especially want to inspire research in the UK on Cornwallis' victory as there are likely more relevant documents languishing in libraries and private collections in England than in North America. We will:

  1. Locate the battle lines of the various stages of the battle on the present ground. The published reports and studies of the battle give at least three different locations of the battle line at the beginning of the battle. An analysis of old maps and descriptions of the battle will help locate more accurately the opening phase of the battle on the terrain. This is essential to understanding the later stages of the battle and where to plan interpretation programs.

  2. Describe the various stages of the battles. Most published histories describe only the opening phase of the battle, the rout of the militia, and Dekalb's stand. The archaeological research is finding evidence that the intense combat covered a wide area. New research is needed on several stages:

    • Night battle,

    • Daylight opening phase and fleeing of the Virginia and part of the NC militia,

    • The "L" defense line of NC militia and Dekalb's forces and the movement of the 1st Maryland Brigade in reserve, and

    • the breakout and escape of some Continentals.

  3. Describe the movements and role of various units in the phases of combat. Several patriot units kept command and control integrity even without the overall commander and fought as units throughout the battle. Some even fought their way off of the battlefield as units. The British units kept excellent command and control through all stages of the battle.

    To answer these questions, a plan of work is as follows:

    • Literature review of sources researched and written by scholars
      a. Develop a complete bibliography and location of books, articles, thesis, maps and sketches and review any unpublished records
      b. NPS Surveys

    • Compile a list of all participants in the battle
      Name, rank, home, unit, documentation and other antidotal information

  4. Through original document search:

  5. Research and compare old maps drawn by Senf, Carrington, Stedman, Lt. Barrette, Kirkland and Kennedy and H. L. Landers. Review an abstract of the property in the core of the battlefield. Some old deeds and plats have references to terrain features mentioned in battle records, records that refer to terrain features that are still evident. This along with archaeological work will help position the various stages of the battle on the present terrain. There are several interpretations of where the first battle lines and later DeKalb's last stand was positioned. Very little is published on the "L" shape line made by the NC militia. A thorough investigation of the documents would work hand and hand with the archaeology study that is being done.

  6. Research on the part that various units played in the battle to assist an on site interpretation program.