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16 Jan 2019

Break Ground with Us on the South Carolina Liberty Trail


Something is missing from our Revolutionary history.

When many of us think of the American War for Independence, George Washington, Boston or the winter at Valley Forge might come to mind. Yet military operations in the Southern Colonies were just as critical to the course and outcome of the war as those in the Middle and Northern Colonies.

Which brings me to South Carolina. Many of the most significant battles of the American Revolution were fought amidst its farms, forests, swamps, mountains, cities and towns. Yet far too few Americans know about this history  and even fewer have experienced these hallowed places firsthand.

We've joined forces with the South Carolina Battleground Trust and the National Park Service to make this right. Thanks to the invaluable support of generous modern-day patriots like you, we have already started preserving battlegrounds across the state. We're also using cutting-edge technology to tell the stories of some of Revolutionary South Carolina's most pivotal people and places. Named in recognition of the role this chapter of history played in securing America's independence, The Liberty Trail will be an experience people can enjoy virtually or as a self-paced driving tour.

Located on the road between Camden and Charlotte, Hanging Rock is one of 16 primary battlefields selected for the initial phase of the Liberty Trail. It was the most northerly of a series of outposts the British established to control the South Carolina backcountry after the August 1780 Battle of Camden.

Of the Battle of Hanging Rock, noted 19th-century historian Lyman Draper later wrote that "Cornwallis was heard to say that no battle fell heavier on the British, considering the numbers engaged, the Battle of Bunker Hill excepted."

The fighting began early on the morning of August 6, 1780, when Colonel Thomas Sumter led approximately 800 Patriot militia to attack a force of about 1,400 troops at the British outpost at Hanging Rock. The 2.4 acres we hope to save is in the footprint of the attack on Loyalist militia that began the battle. Patriot Colonel William Hill reported that the "action commenced under many unfavorable circumstances … as they had to march across a water course & climb a steep cliff, being all this time under fire." Despite these challenges, the Patriot force routed both the Loyalists and a camp of British regulars before the British got their bearings and reorganized to defend themselves.

After a three-hour battle, Sumter withdrew his men, leaving roughly 200 British casualties to the Patriots' 53. In part due to the lopsided casualty figures, Hanging Rock is considered a Patriot victory which served to further embolden Patriot efforts against the British.

My friend, for just $16,651 we can forever preserve a crucial part of the Hanging Rock battlefield. And to help us get there, one of our donors who is passionate about preserving battlefields of the Southern Campaign has agreed to match all gifts up to $5,000.

But your contribution to Hanging Rock isn't just about these 2.4 acres. Your support is critical to build momentum on development of the Liberty Trail and  do justice to this largely forgotten chapter of American history.

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to become a "trailblazer" for South Carolina Revolutionary history education and preservation. Please make a tax-deductible gift to preserve Hanging Rock today.

Doing justice to South Carolina's Revolutionary history will be a marathon, not a sprint. Start training today by reading more about plans for the Liberty Trail.

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American Battlefield Trust

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