(Lancaster, S.C.) — South Carolina Battleground Trust and the American Battlefield Trust announce the acquisition and permanent protection of 31 acres within the footprint of the historic Hanging Rock Battlefield. This recent acquisition brings the total protected area of this significant site to 141 acres to preserve and protect. Hanging Rock is one of 165 battlefields nationwide identified as a Revolutionary War Preservation Priority by the National Park Service’s 2007 Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.
After the fall of Charles Towne in May 1780, the British army established outposts in the South Carolina backcountry. Hanging Rock was the most northerly outpost for the British in South Carolina and subject to ongoing attacks by the Patriot militia. The Battle of Hanging Rock surprised and fell heavy on the British. Thomas Sumter remarked, “We have a great victory, but it will scarcely even be heard of, as we are but a handful of raw militia, but if we had been commanded by a Continental officer, it would have sounded loud in our honor.” This addition to the Hanging Rock battlefield covers the footprint of the movement of Patriot troops from the first to the second British camp, and the scene of the British counter-attack.
“Nowhere can you see the resiliency of the Patriots like you can at Hanging Rock,” commented Doug Bostick, executive director, South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust. “Today we celebrate the acquisition of a key parcel and tomorrow we continue our work to secure the remaining acres in the footprint of the battlefield.”
Hanging Rock has been called one of the most important British strongholds on the northern frontier. “After the fall of Charleston in May 1780, the theater of war in the south shifted,” said American Battlefield Trust president Jim Lighthizer. “The surprise Patriot attack at Hanging Rock — a bloody disaster for British forces, with virtually an entire regiment wiped out — and marked a shift in the tide of the conflict, ultimately cornering the British at Yorktown.”
Steve Harper, Chair, Lancaster County Council celebrated the announcement. “Lancaster County is honored to be a part of the preservation of this historic battlefield.”
Funding for the acquisition was provided by grants from the American Battlefield Protection Program and the South Carolina Conservation Bank, as well as generous private donations. “When people think of the American Revolution, images of Boston and Charleston come to mind. Yet South Carolina’s rural crossroads are rich with stories,” commented Raleigh West, executive director, South Carolina Conservation Bank. “We’re honored to support the acquisition of this property that will help all South Carolinian’s take a walk-through history.” To ensure its protection in perpetuity, the site has been placed under a conservation easement held by the Katawba Valley Land Trust. Once the key remaining acres are acquired, a master plan will be drafted and guide the site’s development into one of five battlefield parks along the Liberty trail.
For more information on The Liberty Trail initiative, including historic background and a list of those sites that are part of the Initial Phase of the project, visit www.thelibertytrail.org. As The Liberty Trail takes shape, partners, friends and history enthusiasts are invited to follow its progress on social media using the hashtag #LibertyTrail.
About the American Battlefield Trust
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 52,000 acres associated with the American Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.
About the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust
The South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust (SCBPT) is a nonprofit established in 1991 and dedicated to the preservation of South Carolina’s historic battlegrounds and military sites. SCBPT preserves South Carolina's military heritage employing a variety of tools from conservation easements and land acquisitions to high-tech ground-based laser scanning surveys and public interpretation. For more information, visit www.scbattlegroundtrust.org.