The Battle of Camden Archaeology Project

The Battle of Camden Archaeology Project
Historic Camden Foundation is pleased to have Steven D. Smith, Director of SCIAA and Research Professor to update progress on the Battle of Camden project.

Steve’s impressive background includes studies and books on historic period settlement at military installations like Fort Polk, Fort Leonard Wood, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He has also researched the lives of African American soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Huachuca, and Fort Bragg, and a nationwide study of African American military history for the U.S. Army Corps. He has published extensively on the life of Francis Marion. His latest books include a co-edited volume on asymmetric warfare, entitled “Partisans, Guerillas, and Irregulars: The Historical Archaeology of Asymmetric Warfare” (University of Alabama Press, 2019), and “Francis Marion and the Snow’s Island Community: Myth, History, and Archaeology” (United Writers Press, 2021).

 

Ginny: Steve, please tell us about SCIAA and the Camden projects you are focusing on this year.

Steve: The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology is a research institute and a state agency under the administrative control of the University of South Carolina. Our mission, as a state agency is to maintain the state’s archaeological site files and artifact collections and act on behalf of the state to investigate important archaeological sites in the state. Our research mission is to gain greater knowledge about South Carolina’s past. We also administer the state’s underwater antiquities act. The SCIAA has numerous archaeological projects on-going every year, each researcher has their own areas of specialty.
My colleague, James Legg and I focus on sites of conflict, primarily of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. We have been conducting investigations at the Camden battlefield since 2001. Jim was the first professional archaeologist to assist the Catawba Valley Land Trust in determining where the core of the battle took place in order to preserve that land. We then obtained two grants from the National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program, through the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, to determine the boundaries of the entire battlefield. This work led to being awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant to continue research at the battle site. Combined with the historical record, these efforts produced three reports detailing the sequence of events during the battle and very precise locations of where those events took place. Our research for 2021 builds on and continues the research at the battlefield.

Ginny: Historic Camden Foundation is honored to hold the Battle of Camden property today but we take on a legacy of preservation of this acreage.

Steve: Indeed, the Historic Camden Foundation builds on the past preservation efforts of the Catawba Valley Land Trust led at that time by Lindsey Pettis, the Palmetto Conservation Foundation Military Heritage Program, led at that time by George Fields, and strong support behind the scenes from the Kershaw County Historical Society and the Battle of Camden Project led by Charles Baxley and David Reuwer. These are only a few of the people who have accomplished the goal of preserving nearly the entire battlefield. Today, you are fortunate to have the support and oversight of the South Carolina Battleground Trust under the leadership of Doug Bostick. Thanks to all, the Camden Battlefield has largely been preserved and we see a bright future for an excellent interpretive program. Plus the battlefield is being managed as a longleaf pine forest preserve, which eventually will return the landscape to its appearance in 1780.

Ginny: Advancements in technology have enhanced archaeology techniques, even though studied before, new tools give us a better picture.

Steve: Yes, since most of what is left behind in battle is made of metal our primary tool for finding artifacts that will assist us in determining troop movements during the battle is the metal detector. Our machines are now using wireless technology and are much more sensitive than earlier models. We also have used LiDAR technology to study the topography of the battlefield and ground penetrating radar to locate battle features. Our primary instrument for mapping artifacts is a sophisticated GPS instrument that can record the location of an individual artifact to within 20 centimeters of its location. This saves a tremendous amount of time as opposed to using a transit instrument as in the past. We use mapping software to generate maps of artifacts which allow us to see the distribution of literally thousands of artifacts associated with the battle.

Ginny: Thank you for your work on the Battle of Camden site. We are lucky to be able to review the new discoveries and how they add to the history of the Battle and troop movements.

Steve: Our plans are to continue to work at the site to add to that history and to produce a definitive battle narrative for the public.

Colonial Pottery at Historic Camden: Revolution and Trade

Colonial Pottery at Historic Camden: Revolution and Trade
Excerpt from Fireside Chat Resources found on HistoricCamden.org

John Bartlam was born 1735 in Stoke-on-Trent
Staffordshire, England landed in Charleston, South Carolina as a master potter.
By 1765 Bartlam had established
South Carolina’s first Pottworks making fine English tableware
referred to as a Manufactory of Earthern Ware at Cain Hoy,
about 10 miles upriver from Charleston, on the banks of the
Wando River.
Bartlam’s relocation to South Carolina was of great concern to
Staffordshire potter Josiah Wedgwood, who in 1765 wrote
to his business partner Thomas Bentley stating
“This trade to our colonies we are apprehensive of losing in a
few years, as they have set foot on some pottworks there
already, and have at this time an agent amongst us hiring a
number of our hands for establishing new a pottworks in South
Carolina; having got one of our insolvent Master Potters there
to conduct them. They have every material there, equal if not
superior to our own, for carrying on that manufacture; and as
the necessaries of life, and consequently the price of labor
amongst us are daily advancing, it is highly probable that more
will follow them…”

At some point in the latter part of 1771 probably shortly after
the close of the Cainhoy Pottery & China Manufactory Bartlam his wife
Mary and his two daughters Honour and Betty Allen relocated
to Camden. We know that Bartlam used his account at Joseph
Kershaw’s store in July of 1772 and by October 10, 1772
Bartlam was in the custody of the Camden Sheriff on the
charge of bad debit brought by four men in Charleston. There
is no record of how Bartlam resolved his debits or raised the
money to build his third and final pottworks. But by the spring
of 1774 his Camden pottworks was in full swing and he was
shipping and selling his queens ware, cream ware and earthen
ware in Charleston were according to the South Carolina
Gazette, April 11, 1774. “equal in quality and appearance and can be afforded as
cheap, as any imported from England.”

And two years later, on April 13th, 1776 Dr. James Clitherall, a
Charleston Physician wrote in his diary
“Mr. Kershaw, who entertain me with a Ride of about four
Miles around by his Flour and Saw Mills which were very
large and in good order and by Log Town to the Pottery. Here
I saw some exceeding good Pans etc. which a Man who had
set up these found great demand for.”

There is no telling if Bartlam was a loyalist or a patriot when he arrived in Camden in the spring of 1772. But we do know that his probable patron Joseph Kershaw was an outspoken patriot and by March of 1775 Kershaw had personally raised a regiment of 200 patriots which included Bartlam called the Camden District Regiment which was active throughout the American Revolution. We have no evidence of what battles Bartlam saw action in as a patriot and member of Kershaw’s Camden District [patriot] Regiment. But we do know at the second battle of Camden known as the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill on April 25,1781 Bartlam was fighting as a loyalist in Starke’s Company under JohnMarshall’s Regiment in Camden District. While there is no evidence of Bartlam being wounded, or killed during the battle of Hobkirk’s Hill. We do know that two weeks after the battle Mary Bartlam and her two daughters where part of Lord Rawdon’s evolution of Camden as loyalist refugees. And two months later, while living in the squalor of the of the loyalist refugee camp outside of Charleston, Mary Bartlam was appointed administer of her late husband’s estate.

In 1783 Bartlam was officially declared a deserter of the Camden District [patriot] Regiment and his property valued at £525 confiscated. Bartlam’s widow Mary tried to claim compensation from the British Government for her husbands confiscated property but there is no evidence that she was awarded anything. Mary and her two daughters did eventually return to Staffordshsire where Mary died in 1818.

Below you will find a link to a PDF with more discussion about John Bartlam

Bartlam Docent Narrative 02-05-21 (1)

Luck Stone Partnership

DO YOU KNOW?

Luck Stone states that its mission is to “ignite human potential through Values Based Leadership and positively impact the lives of others around the world.” “When we bring a new site into our company, our associates become a part of that community, and that community becomes a part of us,” said John Pullen, Chief Growth Officer for the company. President and CEO, Charlie Luck added “Our growth in South Carolina aligns with our long-term mission to make a positive impact on the lives of people and on the welfare of the communities we serve.”

 

In partnership with the Historic Camden Foundation’s Joseph Kershaw Trade Program and Santee-Lynches Council of Governments, we thank Luck Stone for bringing its mission to Kershaw County.

 

In December, our partnership graduated the first Workforce Development class based on Historic Camden’s colonial brickyard. With Luck Stone’s industrial equipment and space, the program provided training and certifications needed to earn a living wage working on industrial jobsites for large national refractory contractors.  Our students have their first jobs at REFTECH INTERNATIONAL and MCNEIL USA.

In addition to these first students, the program assisted in producing new collaborators around the region including the following companies who gave in-kind assistance to keep the program going during a challenging year:

Taylor Clay, Palmetto Bricks, American College of the Building Arts, American Safety Council, The Mobile Attic. Further Camden assistance was provided by Kershaw County School District, SC Works, Philip Hultgren, and Old McCaskill’s Farm.

The team at the Luck Stone Kershaw Plant provided equipment, advice, training and time.  Matt Pullin, Plant Manager at the Luck Stone Kershaw Plant, reflects on our partnership at the graduation ceremony, “It’s an honor to support the work of Historic Camden,” he explained. “We really enjoyed working with the program participants and congratulate them on their accomplishment. This is a special community, and Luck Stone is proud to be a part of it.”

Through this process, Historic Camden Foundation was further able to meet our goal of producing a living history area based on the Kershaw Mercantile trades of brick making, pottery and woodworking.  These skills are all ancient practices which helped guide the learning process for today’s students.  Cary Briggs, the program supervisor notes that “Historic Camden’s project is a STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) program, providing a new path for appreciating the work of specialized craftsmen, and applying those skills to current jobs and 20th century techniques.

Funding for future workforce classes is being discussed and as the weather warms, we look forward to continuing the brickyard and pottery experiences. We will begin to enhance our additions to the horticultural history, iron forge works, and colonial medical practices- engaging visitors in Kershaw County history and how these trades impacted the Revolutionary War story in South Carolina. Visit www.historiccamden.org/events to see our line-up for First Sunday Fireside Chats and Second Saturday RevWar Living History Days.

 

 

DAR History

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:

https://www.dar.org/national-society/historic-sites-and-properties/state-site-list/SC

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.

A 50th Anniversary Thank You!

The Historic Camden Foundation would like to thank all those who participated in our November 6th and 7th events. We are proud that you chose to join us in celebrating the extraordinary Colonial and Revolutionary War history of Camden and Kershaw County!

AN ECONOMIC FORCE FOR CAMDEN: HIGHLIGHTING THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN 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.”

Historic Camden Foundation properties are included in The Liberty Trail and our displays must reflect the same

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 CamdenCowpensGuilford 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.”

Historic Camden: Commemorating the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Camden

During this past year, you have been walking and reading with me on a journey through stories of Camden’s colonial backcountry settlement, the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution and the Kershaw House as the 1780 British Forward Operating Base.

On August 15, 2020 our RevWar Days commemorated both the Battle that took place in our County on that day 240 years ago and we celebrated the hardworking colonial townspeople that continued to work the land and toil for their freedoms. We are grateful to have incredible artisans today, demonstrating the crafts which sustained this City during those early times.

Iron Forge      Pottery Maker    Brickyard   Colonial Garden

In addition, to educate our visitors, we engaged the stories of the British Occupation of the Kershaw House through artifacts, cannon demonstrations and talks.  Thank you to all who participated and visited our site. We look forward to more celebrations of Camden and Kershaw history. Mark your calendars for November 7th and the 50th Anniversary events celebrating Historic Camden Foundation’s legacy of preservation and South Carolina’s Liberty Trail

I want to share our opening remarks from the Battle of Camden Commemoration given by our Board Chairman, Bob Giangiorgi.

Thank you for joining Historic Camden Foundation for the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Camden. We are proud to be the stewards of this battlefield and through it will create a greater appreciation of America’s remarkable story.

 

I would like to focus our thoughts on an inspirational group who joined this Battle, giving the full measure here 240 years ago.

In April 1780, Washington chose Major General Johann DeKalb and his Maryland and Delaware troops to march south. In early May the foreign born DeKalb became the senior American officer in the South. Congress decided to place an American in charge and selected Horatio Gates. DeKalb agreed to continue in command of the Maryland and Delaware troops, and to serve as the second-in-command to the new southern commander, bringing him to this property in August 1780.

 

John Beakes apply describes the battle in his biography of DeKalb. “On the morning of August 16, 1780, Major General DeKalb rose and prepared for combat, as he had done many times over the past thirty-seven years. His strength, fitness, and imposing presence had served him well throughout his career, and brought him home safe from earlier engagements. Yet forty-five minutes later after the opening fire at Camden, the American army would be routed, deKalb’s Maryland and Delaware divisions would be shattered, and his giant figure would be brought low by three bullet wounds and eight cuts from swords and bayonets.  Captured and treated with the greatest respect by his British foes, his life slowly ebbed away over the next three days.”

DeKalb, his troops and all those who fought and died on this land are why the Daughters of the American Revolution preserved this spot in 1909. And why Historic Camden Foundation protects our grounds and creates experiences to learn about their lives given to the American Revolutionary cause.

 

Let us consider those lives given as we join Major General Julian Burns in prayer.

Celebrate 50 years with the Historic Camden Foundation!

Historic Camden's 50th Anniversary

Collaborating with the SC Liberty Trail partners, Historic Camden Foundation will provide a living history journey through the Southern Campaign supported by historically related exhibits and demonstrations. Activities will be held outdoors and adhere to governmental restrictions for distancing and face covering. 

Join the Historic Camden Foundation on November 7, 2020, from 10 am to 4 pm for the Rev War Days and our 50th Anniversary Celebration!

Spend the day on SC’s Liberty Trail and walk the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Enjoy the living history and demonstrations from NPS Partners and Liberty Trail sites between 1780 and 1783.

We look forward to celebrating 50 years with you at the Historic Camden Revolutionary War site (222 Broad Street). Tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase after October 1, 2020.

Ginny Zemp, Executive Director announces this collaborative event as a way to educate visitors on the significance of the Southern Campaign. Journey with Historic Camden Foundation on The SC Liberty Trail, engaging the stories from Charleston to Yorktown and Camden’s pivotal role in the American Revolution!

The Colonial Catawba of the Carolinas

South Carolina’s Native American history is one that is rich, vast and reaches back in time thousands of years. One of the most prominent tribes is the Catawba (yeh is-WAH h’reh or “people of the river”), who have lived along the Catawba River for roughly 6,000 years. In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto passed through the Piedmont region of North Carolina on his expedition west. There he would encounter the Catawba people, marking the first documented contact with the tribe after remaining largely private previously. While noteworthy, it was the election of King Hagler (Nopkehee) in 1754 that ushered in an era where the tribe would begin to expand

King Hagler statue located on Town Green in Camden (created by Maria J. Kirby-Smith)

King Hagler, often referred to as the “patron saint of Camden,” brought progress to the Catawba Nation. The Catawba endured many hardships leading up to this time, including a smallpox epidemic in 1738 that afflicted the population substantially. Hardship was not the only challenge they were faced with, as the 1750s saw an influx of European settlers making home on the land around them. Hagler, a fierce but fair negotiator, strived to establish an agreement with the new settlers that would allow them to coexist and work together. This relationship proved successful as the Catawba became known not only for their remarkable pottery but also as renowned traders, especially of quality furs. The tribe continued to prosper under Halger as he strived to maintain peaceful relationships with the settlers and expand opportunities for his people. While enjoying this newfound

success, the Catawba would soon find themselves faced with hardship once again in 1759 when stricken with another smallpox outbreak. The epidemic proved tragic for the burgeoning Catawba Nation, resulting in the deaths of nearly half their population. The remaining Catawba persevered and pressed on, with the continued guidance of Hagler. While the Catawba worked through the challenges and hardships they were facing, the world was changing as a war waged on around them. The Catawba

John Evans 1756 map indicating Catawba warrior number and location (source – The Catawbas by James Merrell)

would become involved in the French and Indian War, with Hagler sending men to fight alongside George Washington in the Ohio territory. The Catawba were fierce warriors, as noted in Washington’s journals, where he also talks about how valuable their support was in the war efforts. Their friendship and support to the English settlers was recognized in 1763 when the King of England granted the Catawba 144,000 acres of land, which they would then rent to settlers. Tragically, about this same time, King Hagler was killed by members of a rival tribe as he traveled back from Charles Towne. Unfortunately, their hardships continued as the colonists renting their land would pressure them about allowing them to own the land for themselves. The state of South Carolina entered negotiations with the Catawba hoping to strike a new deal. An agreement was reached that called for the Catawba to concede their 144,000 acres in exchange for a tract of land with a smaller population and monetary payment. This deal marked the end of an era for the Catawba Nation, but it would not be their demise.

While fascinating, this blog only scratches the surface in telling the story of a people-group that goes much deeper. We hope to continue telling the story of South Carolina’s rich history in future installments, including expanding upon groups like the Catawba. Please continue to follow us as we strive to preserve, educate and celebrate the history that makes South Carolina, and Historic Camden, so important!

By: Lance Player – Historic Camden Staff

Sources

  1. Lewis, Kenneth E. The Carolina Backcountry Venture: Tradition, Capital, and Circumstance in the Development of Camden and the Wateree Valley, 1740-1810. The University of South Carolina Press, 2017.
  2. “About The Nation.” Catawba Indian Nation, www.catawbaindian.net/.
  3. Merrell, James Hart, and Frank W. Porter. The Catawbas. Chelsea House Publishers, 1989.