Strategic Agenda as of July 2002. Project to obtain Park at site of Battle of Camden SC 16 August 1780 ("Gates' Defeat").

The Strategic Plan, Battle of Camden National Landmark Site Preservation and Interpretation, July 2002

The Battle of Camden was a very large and important battle in the American Revolution. The battle is the key to understanding the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign. Six acres of the battlefield owned by the Hobkirk Hill Chapter of the DAR has been a commemorative area since the late 19th century. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1965 on a nomination that included approximately 2000 acres of battle and maneuver area. A recent catalyst for the project came in August 2000, when the Katawba Valley Land Trust with the help of Palmetto Conservation Foundation obtained from Bowater, Inc., a large forestry company, a conservation easement on an additional 310 acres that contain a large portion of the battlefield.

The Strategic Plan will plan for the battlefield, its preservation, its interpretation, and its potential for tourism. We will develop and implement a comprehensive Strategic Plan for archeology, interpretation, tourism, and permanently protect of the Battle of Camden National Landmark Site. While a history of the battle is not the primary goal of the planning process, historical study is needed to help us understand the battlefield. The History Committee and the Archaeology Committee are our two main resources in gathering and analyzing facts that will help understand where and how the battle took place on the terrain. This battle took an hour to fight and will be better understood by describing it in its various stages and the role of each major unit in the various stages.

This recent easement illustrates the interest of a large corporate owner in preserving the site of the Battle of Camden and their willingness to participate in the project. The easement encouraged and challenged other groups interested in the project. This easement has two conditions that could jeopardize the future of the site.

  • First, in order to keep the easement in place after August 5, 2005, a condition requires that a comprehensive Strategic Plan be implemented before then on archeology, preservation, interpretation, and tourism programs.
  • Second, the easement lasts for only 50 years and must be renegotiated.
This easement was a great first step in the protection of the site, and this progress will continue through a comprehensive organization of the cooperating agencies to support the project and the implementation of a Strategic Plan for the site.

In March 2001, a coalition of local, regional, state, and federal agencies began planning on an ad hoc basis for the preservation and on-site interpretation of the National Landmark. The project has developed a comprehensive planning organization that is leading and guiding the development of the Strategic Plan.

  • The important first step is building consensus among 21 constituent groups that have an interest or have done archeological, historical preservation, or tourism programs at the site. This coalition is now organized into a decision-making group with a steering committee and other committees to guide the project.
  • The second stage of the project is a study component with a complete review of all historical surveys, archeological, and understanding of the entire site, including the property outside the 296 acres now under a protection program. There are still approximately 1700 unprotected acres of battle and maneuver area included in the National Landmark nomination. The archaeology and land use studies will guide the planning on any additional land that should be protected.
  • The final activity in the project will be the implementing any phases of the plan that relate to needed revisions in the two existing protection agreements and also begin implementing any plans calling for protection of adjacent property found to be essential for the integrity of the battlefield.