South Carolina Backcountry Revolutionary War Sites
Number of visitors to this website since 21 July 2003:
This site was last updated on: 27 July 2005
By Phil Norfleet
The purpose of this web site is to provide recent photographs of some of the more significant Revolutionary War sites in the South Carolina Backcountry. Most of the photos were taken by me during the summer of the year 2000 with a 1.3 mega-pixel Fuji digital camera.
I first began to investigate the early history of this part of South Carolina while doing genealogical research concerning John Mayfield of Browns Creek, the first member of the Mayfield family known to have settled in South Carolina. During the Revolution, John Mayfield had supported the Loyalist Cause, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Tory Militia, and had been murdered by the Rebels, probably some time in the early part of 1781.
As my study of John Mayfield's life and times progressed, I realized that the area in which he lived, the region that lay between the Saluda and Broad Rivers in the old Ninety-Six Judicial District of South Carolina, produced many prominent Rebels and Loyalists. Several of these men were close neighbors of Mayfield; before the Revolution they had probably all been good friends and business associates. Unfortunately, the Revolutionary War in the South Carolina Backcountry was actually a civil war; it caused neighbor to fight neighbor, brother to fight brother and father to fight son.
Why a Web Site on this Topic?
In the first 150 years or so after the Revolution, most of the major American historians of that event were from the northeastern part of the United States, particularly from New England. As a consequence, the story of the War in the South was given little emphasis. However, since the 1970's, a newer generation of historians have come to realize that the war for independence was actually won in the South. To achieve that victory, no colony paid a higher price than South Carolina. More than two hundred battles and skirmishes took place on South Carolina soil, more than in any other colony.
South Carolina was the scene of shifting American fortunes throughout the War. Just a week before the Declaration of Independence, South Carolina Whigs won a pivotal victory -- one of the first in the South -- at Sullivan's Island overlooking Charleston Harbor. For the next several years few battles were fought in the South. However, in May 1780, Charleston, one of the most important ports in America, fell to the British under Sir Henry Clinton. Soon thereafter, much of South Carolina was overrun by British troops. A few months later, the tide of the war reached its lowest ebb for the American cause. On 16 August 1780, American forces were defeated by Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Camden, suffering what some historians consider their worst defeat in any war. But only two months later, on 07 October 1780, at Kings Mountain, American frontier militia claimed a victory that shifted the tide in favor of independence. Finally, on 17 January 1781, Daniel Morgan triumphed over Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens. That victory greatly weakened the overall military position of Cornwallis and ultimately led to his decisive defeat at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781.
The hardships endured by the families of the South Carolina Backcountry during the Revolution are almost unimaginable to people of the modern era. Most of these Backcountry protagonists have now been forgotten, especially the loyalists. It is my hope that this web site will aid in restoring to historical memory their names and the sites where their exploits took place. It is to these brave men and women, both rebels and loyalists, that I dedicate this web site.
Copyrightę 2003 by Philip C. Norfleet
All Rights Reserved. Published in the United States of America. My photographs, provided at this web site, may be reproduced for nonprofit personal or educational use only. Any commercial use of these materials is a violation of United States copyright laws and is strictly prohibited. If you have any questions, email the author at: [email protected].