The Historic Camden Foundation is a private 501(c)3 non-profit museum whose mission is to protect, preserve, 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.

HISTORIC CAMDEN EXCHANGE

Stop by the Historic Camden Gift Shop to shop these products and more!

South Carolina Irish by Arthur Mitchell

Andrew Jackson by Sean Wilentz

Who Was Andrew Jackson? by Douglas Yacka

Gadsden flag

Betsy Ross flag

Liberty flag

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.

Latest News

Recollections Add Depth To History

By Virginia Zemp

Executive Director – Historic Camden

RECOLLECTIONS ADD DEPTH TO HISTORY

Scholars study archival records to develop the history of an event or place.  In South Carolina, we are fortunate to have saved, preserved and made accessible an immense number of records- government, corporate and personal! These records provide details which ultimately are reviewed in new light as each generation considers their impact on current discussions.

Repositories like Camden Archives and Museum; SC Archives and History Department; The South Caroliniana Library; SC Historical Society, continue to protect our Revolutionary War veteran stories. These papers and letters are the basis for Historic Camden’s exhibits and are integral to the building of a narrative for the Battle of Camden site.

Thomas Pinckney, injured at the Battle of Camden wrote the following:

I will first notice; which is that the movement in the night of 15th of August was not made with the intention of attacking the enemy, but for the purpose of occupying a strong position so near him as to confine his operations, to cut off his supplies of Provisions, from the upper parts of the Wateree & Pedee
Rivers, & to harass him with detachments of light Troops, & to oblige him either to retreat or to come out & attack us upon our own ground, in a situation where the Militia which constituted our principal numerical force, might act to the best advantage.
THOMAS PINCKNEY LETTER TO WILLIAM JOHNSON; SC Historical Magazine, Vol. X, No. 8 (August 1886), pp. 244-253.

Published materials and transcribed records form a pathway to discover individual stories. The palisade wall surrounding the town in 1780 as well as the redoubt positions were detailed in records of the Continental Congress.  Archaeology studies verified the accuracy of this drawing.

IMAGE: Plan of Camden, May 12, 1781, adapted from the Nathaniel Greene Papers, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives, Washington DC- additionally showing HCF properties in 2018..

Thank You to these important institutions and their resources for helping Historic Camden Foundation tell the unique story of Kershaw County.

Resources of quality information are discoverable through published books and treatises as well as internet sources. www.carolana.com/SC/Revolution/ has compiled information on The Camden District Regiment of Militia, established February 1775, noting Commanders, Miscellaneous Players and Known Privates.  You can discover a synopsis of where and when they fought.

 

The Camden District Regiment of Militia

Month & Year Established: February 1775

Commanders: Col. Richard Richardson, Col. Joseph Kershaw,

Col. Thomas Taylor

Misc. Players: Jacob Bethany – Commissary

Jesse Goodwyn – Commissary

John Hamilton – Commissary

William Meyers – Asst. Commissary

Isaac Raiford – Comm. General

Timothy Rives – Commissary

Henry Sanders – Commissary

John Wyche – Asst. Commissary

Today’s Veteran recollections are being saved!

Under the same premise that individual stories are imperative to a better understanding of history, the United States Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP) in 2000 as part of the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. VHP collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand remembrances of U.S. military veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts.

Beginning in February, Historic Camden Foundation will collaborate with the National Society of the Colonial Dames in South Carolina (NSCDSC) and VHP to begin taking oral histories of our local veterans.  The NSCDSC will provide volunteers to video the discussions and coordinate the proper methods for Library of Congress inclusion.  Historic Camden Foundation is proud to support this effort on its site. For further information, please contact Virginia Zemp at 803-432-9841.

Camden Militia 1775- Known Privates / Fifers / Drummers / Etc. – Captain Unknown:  Andrew Allison; Edward Andrews; George Antse; John Armstrong- Wagon Master William Ashley;

John Baker; John Barnet; Andrew Barnett; Andrew Baskin; Ulrick Beard; Benedict Best; John Blake; William Boyd; Joseph Bradley; William Brewer; David Brown; Isaac Busby; Jasper Bush;

Greenberry Caps; Henry Cato; Reuben Cook; Robert Cook; Adam Coon; Lewis Coon; Lot Cornelius; John Countryman; Abiah Croft; Godfrey Cromer; Jacob Cromer; William Croskry; Peter Curry;

Henry Dancer; William Daniel; George Davidson; Joseph Davies; Reynolds Dill; Robert Duke;Samuel Dunlap;

Henry Eady; John Elder; Matthias Elmore; Josiah Evans; Caspar Faust, Jr.; John Faust; Richard Featherston; Casper Foust; Casper Foust, Jr.; William Foust; John Funderbuck;

Thomas Gaston; James Gibson; John Gillespie; John Glazier; Howell Goodwyn; Jesse Goodwyn;  William Goodwyn;

Henry Hagood; Lewis Hagood; John Hamilton; Adam Hamiter; John Harbirt; Victor Harris; John Harvison; Arthur Hicklin; John Hicklin; William Hirons; Thomas Hodge; Archibald Hood; James Hood; Daniel Horton; Henry Horton; John Horton; James Howard; Arthur Howell; Matthew Howell; William Howell;  James Hoy;

John Ingram; William Ingram; John Jackson; Barnet Johnston; David Johnston; John Jones; Samuel Jones;

Peter Kelly; David Kennedy; John Kennington; John Killingsworth; Berry King; George King; John King -Wagoner Christian Kinsler; William Kirkland; Zachariah Kirkland; Robert Kirkpatrick;

John Lake; Titus Lang; Nicholas Latner; Samuel Littlejohn;

Robert Marshall; Patrick McDonald; Peter McGrew; Wright McLemore; Thomas McMeans; George McWhorter; Buckner Miles; William Miller; Daniel Monaghan; John Jett Mothershead; Michael Muckenfuss; John Murff; David Myars;

Edward Narramore; John Nealins; William Nealins; William Nettles; John Nisbett; William Nisbett; William Norris – Wagoner; William Owens; John Parr; James Pearson; Noah Phelps; Barnaby McKinney Pope;

Dennis Quinlin; Charle Raley, Jr.; Henry Rivers; Green Rives; Henry Rives; John Rives; William Rives; Thomas Roach; William Robertson; Nicholas Robinson – Wagoner; Hugh Rodgers; William Rolleson – Wagoner; Moses Ross;

John Salisbury; Pettigrew Salisbury; Andrew Sanders; Samuel Sealy;  Howell Sellers; George Smith; Stephen Smith; John Snelling; Charles Spradley; Reuben Starke; Kemp T. Strother;

John Taylor; Jacob Theus; Williamson Threewits; Jesse Tillman; John Trusdale; Jacob Turnipseed;  John Turnipseed;

Jonathan Welsh; William Welsh; Joseph West; Nathan White; Joseph Whitener – Express Rider; Edward Williams – Express Rider; John Williams; Rednal Williams; Rolling Williamson; Robert Willis; Thomas Wise; Drury Wyche; John Wyche;  George Yarborough; Lewis Yarborough; William Yarboro.

Historic Camden: 50 years of Preservation, Education and Celebration!

By Lance Player

Staff Member – Historic Camden

Pictured (1975): Richard Lloyd (seated) Hope Cooper (seated) Henry Boykin

We are happy to introduce to you our new blog, which will discuss a variety of topics and helps us usher into a new era as we celebrate fifty years of preservation, education and celebration.

For fifty years Historic Camden has played a vital role in preserving Kershaw County’s storied history. Our journey began in 1966 when the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, along with a group of local residents, proposed a new initiative. That initiative, along with seed money given by Richard and Margaret Lloyd, helped to establish what would become the Historic Camden Foundation. On the first weekend of November, in 1970, Historic Camden opened its doors to visitors. That very same weekend marked the first annual Revolutionary War Field Days, a reenactment held each year since. Historic Camden was one of the first major preservation projects for the county, helping to pave the way for future efforts as well.

Early Revolutionary War Field Days with the rebuilt Kershaw Cornwallis House in the background

While five decades may have passed, one thing that has remained true is Historic Camden’s steadfast dedication to its mission statement: to protect, preserve and celebrate Camden’s extraordinary Colonial and Revolutionary War history. Historic Camden is a proud member of the community, but we are always working to expand our audience. Each year we receive visitors from not just Camden, but all throughout the United States as well as countries around the world. As part of our mission, we place a great deal of our focus on three key areas: preservation, education and events. Our preservation efforts include things such as maintaining/restoration of our buildings, collections and the Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Preserve. In terms of education, we offer guided tours, lectures, school tours and our annual History Days program. Events are a regular occurrence and come in a variety of forms including Treaty of Ghent, Revel, Haunts and Spirits and Revolutionary War Field Days. As a private, non-profit organization we also look to some of our events as fundraisers. This helps us to continue with our preservation and education efforts and provide visitors with opportunities to gain their very own experiences.

Historic Camden’s early welcome sign

Historic Camden is a community staple, and we like to maintain an open invitation mentality, so that each of you have the opportunity to get involved. Whether you choose to volunteer, become a member, take a tour or make a donation, your support is crucial and always appreciated. Historic Camden is ever-growing with our established efforts and new opportunities on the horizon. With the arrival of 2020 we begin a year of celebration 50 years in the making, and we’re happy to invite you all to celebrate with us!

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