A Revolutionary War Backcountry Trails Tour | Olde English District

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A Revolutionary War Backcountry Trails Tour

The majority of the Patriots who fought in the Revolutionary War were immigrants. What better way to interpret the "Lady Liberty" theme than with the immigrants who gained our original liberty?

The Carolinas' Backcountry Revolutionary War Trail shows how these original immigrants gained the freedom which we now celebrate and relish. More Revolutionary War battles were fought in South Carolina than in any other colony. The Southern Campaign of the American Revolution led to the ultimate victory at Yorktown. This tour retraces the battles and way of life that led us to become our own country.

Charleston was settled by the English, Scots-Irish, French Huguenots and Germans, as is evidenced by their many historic churches, plantations and house museums. Camden was created by King George II as one of eleven townships in South Carolina with the purpose of attracting immigrants. Land within the townships was granted only to colonists from abroad. In addition to the English, Camden saw a large influx of Irish Quakers in 1750-51. The Kershaw-Cornwallis House was built by Joseph Kershaw, an Englishman. French, English and Scots- Irish lived in Winnsboro at the time of the Revolutionary War. Landsford Canal was built by Scots-Irish immigrants. The Bratton family was Scots-Irish and the tour guide at Historic Brattonsville will talk of their influences in the area. The battles at Cowpens, Kings Mountain and Guilford Courthouse all involved immigrants as the films and the National Park Service guides will explain that significance. The German immigrants settled Old Salem and it offers a unique glimpse into their lifestyle. Hezekiah Alexander was Scots-Irish and in Cheraw the local guide will tell of the French Huguenots, Welch, English and Scots-Irish who built the town. The tour includes a visit to Old St. David=s Church, in Cheraw, which was the last Anglican Church built in South Carolina, definitely the result of English immigrants.

Day 1

  • Morning
    The day begins with carriage tours of Charleston, SC (the group will be divided up for this) to acclimate you to the area and to see the beautiful, historic homes in the Battery. The rest of the morning and early afternoon you can shop, see the historic sites in downtown (such as the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the Old City Market, the Thomas Elfe House and many historic churches) and have lunch on your own at your leisure.
  • Afternoon
    At 1:30 the group gets back together to visit Middleton Place, home of Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress, his son Arthur, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and their descendants. Parts of the Revolutionary War movie AThe Patriot@(to be released June 30, 2000), starring Mel Gibson, were filmed here. Tour the house museum and America=s oldest formal landscaped gardens (c.1741). Depart for Camden, SC. Arrive and check into your hotel.
  • Evening
    Enjoy an 18th century style dinner at Historic Camden Revolutionary War Park at the authentically reconstructed Kershaw-Cornwallis House. Commandeered by Lord Cornwallis during the Revolution, the House served as the British Headquarters from June 1780 through April 1781. The evening is topped off with stories by Lord Cornwallis.

Day 2

  • Morning
    Breakfast at your hotel is followed by a visit back to Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site where you will tour the grounds more completely and participate in a quill and ink demonstration. Depart for Winnsboro, SC, where you will go on a walking tour of the historic town, including viewing the Lord Cornwallis House. Your guide will have lunch with you at the News and Herald Tavern and share some of its ghost stories with you.
  • Afternoon
    Depart for Landsford Canal State Park (near Rock Hill, SC) where Scots-Irish immigrants built the Robert Mills designed canal. But even before the canal was built, Lord Cornwallis crossed the ford in his march from Charlotte to Winnsboro after the battle of Kings Mountain. If you are here during May or June, you will see the glorious Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies in full bloom in the middle of the Catawba River. Depart for Historic Brattonsville (near Rock Hill, SC), where Scots-Irish immigrants settled the land. A costumed guide will lead you through this 720-acre living history village and Revolutionary War battlefield site featuring 29 historic structures including house museums that chronicle the development of the Carolina Backcountry from the 1750's through the 1840's. Parts of the movie AThe Patriot@ were filmed here as well.
  • Evening
    Experience an AEvening with the Catawbas@. The only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, the Catawbas will give you a glimpse of their heritage with drumming, dancing, pottery demonstration and storytelling. Learn of their ancestors who fought on the side of the Americans during the Revolutionary War, with one of them being awarded a Gorget (on display) for bravery. Overnight in Rock Hill.

Day 3

  • Morning
    After breakfast at your hotel, depart for Cowpens National Battlefield. At Cowpens, you will view a film that will orient you to the significance of the battle. Your National Park Service Guide will then walk you through the site where on January 17, 1781, in fighting that lasted an hour, an outnumbered Patriot army under General Daniel Morgan destroyed a crack British unit commanded by the feared and hated Colonel Banastre Tarleton. 

    Depart for Prime Outlets of Gaffney, where you will have a break from your history lesson. Shop at Black & Decker, Coach, Mikasa, Polo and more. Lunch on your own at the food court, Cracker Barrel or Silver Diner.
  • Afternoon Back to history with a visit to Kings Mountain National Military Park, where the Scots- Irish immigrants (Patriots) won a pivotal and significant victory over Loyalist forces during the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. The October 7, 1780 battle destroyed the left wing of Lord Cornwallis=s army and effectively ended Loyalists= dominance in the Carolinas. View the film, AKings Mountain: Turning Point in the South@ and tour the site with your National Park Service Guide. Depart for Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, NC. At Old Salem, one of the country=s most authentic living history towns, you will see and hear of how the Moravians lived and the role these German immigrants had in the Revolutionary War. Stop by the bakery and enjoy a snack of authentic Moravian sugar cake. Be sure to buy some Moravian ginger cookies for a late night snack. Enjoy dinner in the Tavern in Old Salem. Overnight in Greensboro, NC.

Day 4

  • Morning
    After breakfast at your hotel, visit Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. View the movie where you will understand how this led to Lord Cornwallis=s eventual defeat at Yorktown. Walk the trails with your National Park Service Guide where Major General Nathanael Greene deployed 4,400 Patriots against 2,200 redcoats at Guilford Courthouse. Although Cornwallis won the battle, he lost the war, losing one-quarter of his army here at Guilford. Depart for Charlotte, NC and Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, where you will tour this 1774 structure with your costumed guide. Hexekiah Alexander was a significant figure in the Revolutionary era, supervising the raising, provisioning and financing of Patriot forces. Depart for Cheraw, SC., where you will sit down to a Southern Adinner@ (traditionally the midday meal was called dinner in the South) at the Country Kitchen. It=s a toss up as to whether the biscuits or cornbread is better, so try them both. Choose from a variety of meats and vegetables.
  • Afternoon
    In the town of Cheraw your step-on guide will regale you with stories of the immigrants who built this town-French Huguenots, Welch, English and, of course, Scots-Irish. Tour the oldest home in town, pre-Revolutionary War era, and bounce on one of the longest Charleston joggling benches on the porch. Go inside Old St. David=s Church, c.1770, used as a hospital and quarters by both sides during the Revolutionary War and walk through the cemetery where soldiers from all wars, including the Revolutionary War (both British and American) are buried. Depart for Charleston.