The Historic Camden Foundation is a private 501(c)3 non-profit museum whose mission is to protect, educate, and celebrate Camden’s extraordinary Colonial and Revolutionary War history.
Our 107 acres sit atop the original 18th-century property of the city’s founder Joseph Kershaw and the fortified Revolutionary War-era town occupied by British General Cornwallis and Lord Rawdon’s men from 1780-81. Visit the site to learn about the prolific Kershaw, Camden’s importance to the war’s Southern Campaigns, and Colonial life in the backcountry. Explore the reconstructed Kershaw-Cornwallis House and recently rehabilitated c. 1800 McCaa’s Tavern, as well as exhibits in other period structures. Join us for tours, programs, and events! See our Admission & Tours page and our events calendar to plan your trip.
Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Preserve
Historic Camden is excited to announce that we have recently assumed ownership of 476 acres of the Battlefield of Camden. The Battlefield is hallowed ground for the hundreds of men who died in this significant battle that took place August 16, 1780. Historic Camden is dedicated to telling the story of this fascinating battle, preserving and studying the archaeological evidence of the site, restoring the Longleaf Pine forest that existed during the 18th century, and providing a space for a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Visit the Camden Battlefield page for more information!
Both the original Historic Camden campus and the Battlefield are on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic Camden is a National Park Service affiliate.
Historic Camden Foundation wants to highlight some of the historic preservation efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution here in South Carolina. In Kershaw County, the Hobkirk’s Hill Chapter led the efforts to save the site of the Battle of Camden in 1907 setting aside 5 acres of the core battlefield. Within that preservation, this group of local women, (Who incidentally were not allowed to vote in national or local elections at the time) conceived of, funded and protected the land, and artifacts of that 1780 battle for independence. In so protecting, they along with DAR chapters across the United States, became leaders in preserving our nation’s Revolutionary War story.
Some of the significant Revolutionary War areas across South Carolina connected to DAR preservation efforts can be found here:
Included therein are the following:
Birthplace of Andrew Jackson Monument Marker, Van Wyck community
Buford Battleground and Gravesite, Tradesville vicinity
Culbertson Back Country Settlement, Laurens County
Fort Watson Monument, South of Summerton
General Francis Marion’s Tomb, Pineville
King’s Mountain Battlefield, York
Old Waxhaw Church and Cemetery, Lancaster City
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston
Impactful preservation which the SC DAR has led and made significant effort to protect include: The South Carolina DAR Forest – between Camden and Cheraw, where sixty-six thousand five hundred Penny Pines were planted in 1940
The Tamassee School, in Tamassee, South Carolina, founded in 1919 to serve the underprivileged children of Appalachia. Historic buildings can be observed on the school campus.
In recent years the Hambright Chapter of North Carolina dedicated an impressive marker honoring African American patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain (2016).
In 2012, the Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson Chapter, Indian Land, SC dedicated a memorial to honor Colonel Abraham Buford and his regiment of 350 Virginians. Nearly all were either killed or wounded by Colonel Tarleton’s British Army, even though they waved the white flag of surrender.
In 1950, Clarendon County: Elizabeth Peyre Richardson Manning Chapter honored General Francis Marion and Colonel Henry Lee and their militia which captured British Fort Watson on April 23, 1781 with the use of the Maham tower. This capture secured the Santee River crossing and path so that the British could not re-supply Camden, which led to the British loss in the South Carolina backcountry.
As you visit state historical sites, please take the time to note the important preservation efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
By: Virginia Zemp – Executive Director of the Historic Camden Foundation
AN ECONOMIC FORCE FOR CAMDEN:
HIGHLIGHTING THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
It is critical that Historic Camden remains strong to participate in the new Revolutionary War Visitors’ Center at Camden, set to open in the spring of 2021. The focus of the center will be the story of the Southern Campaign. A visit next door to Historic Camden will be the first step in the journey of discovery.
Our partner, the American Battlefield Trust has an incredible website for learning about Revolutionary War battles. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/southern-theater-american-revolution Their website relates that “Many historians consider the Revolutionary War to have been decided in the swamps, fields, woods and mountains of the South, won by the resilience and determination of Continental soldiers and Patriot militia. Although the full story of the Southern Campaigns is not widely known, the events of 1779-1782 in the Carolinas directly led to an American victory in the war.
More than 200 battles and skirmishes occurred in South Carolina during the war. Working with a panel of historians and archaeologists to select the most significant of these actions, the American Battlefield Trust and the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust have developed plans to form The Liberty Trail, an innovative driving route designed to connect these battlefields and tell the captivating and inspiring stories of this transformative chapter of American history. The American Battlefield Trust and the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust are now working toward the launch of the initial phase of The Liberty Trail.”
standards. BCBS of South Carolina, OceanaGold/Haile Gold Mine, Luck Stone and The Brady Foundation have stepped up to get exhibits started. We need your time, energy and connections to prepare for the new opportunity. The Camden Visitor
Center and its connection to the Camden Battlefield and the Liberty Trail throughout South Carolina have the potential for dramatically increasing tourism in Camden and Kershaw County.
November 7th, 2020, Historic Camden Foundation will highlight the Liberty Trail and the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Join us as we provide an outdoor living history journey on our Broad Street campus. Visitors will engage the Revolutionary War Southern Campaign as you walk through historically related exhibits and demonstrations. Activities will be held outdoors and adhere to governmental restrictions for distancing and face covering.
More from American Battlefield Trust educational programs:
“The Southern Theater of the Revolutionary War is often reduced to the battles of Camden, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, and Yorktown. In fact, fighting in the Southern colonies raged through the entire war and was an area of great concern for both sides. In the final years of the war, following the fall of Charleston to the British in May 1780, the South became the principal theater of the Revolutionary War. In addition to regular fighting between the armies, a civil war erupted between Patriots and Loyalists, with many small battles between militias raging throughout the countryside.”