Expanding The Liberty Trail: 23 Acres at Hobkirk Hill
Paving a preservation legacy in South Carolina has been no easy feat, but the American Battlefield Trust is quite determined, much like General Nathanael Greene was during the Revolution’s Southern Campaign. Working with our friends at the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust (SCBPT), our most recent preservation victory brings us to Hobkirk Hill, S.C. With approximately 23 acres saved across three properties, we can now claim our first preservation victory at this Liberty Trail site.
A Historic Spring for the Southern Campaign
The spring of 1781 was witness to momentous change in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, ushered in largely by the efforts of General Greene.
Hobkirk Hill trailed the March 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse, which, although it was declared a British victory, saw Charles Lord Cornwallis’s army greatly depleted. With Cornwallis’s forces moving toward the coast, Greene saw an opportunity to drive the British from South Carolina. His first objective: defeat Lord Rawdon’s garrison at Camden. His forces arrived on the night of April 19 but, after assessing Rawdon’s defenses to be too strong, Greene assumed a northern position atop Hobkirk Hill.
However, on April 25, Rawdon took matters into his own hands and launched an attack on the Continentals. Despite poorly conceived orders and the loss of a veteran officer, the Patriot forces disengaged and withdrew. Rawdon picked up a win, but he was left low on supplies (in part, due to the Patriot capture of Fort Watson two days prior) and abandoned Camden about two weeks later, opening a gate for the Patriots to reclaim the South Carolina backcountry.
Preserving the Land AND the Story Within
The newly saved properties at this site each help to preserve particular parts of the Hobkirk Hill story. The land once hosted the Patriot right-flank, made up of a Virginia Continental regiment commanded by Richard Campbell, as well as the far left of Greene’s forces. One of the properties even includes the actual “Greene spring” used by the Americans to water their entire left flank; it is the only empty parcel in the eastern core of the battlefield.
Along with the SCBPT, the Trust extends its thanks to the American Battlefield Protection Program, the South Carolina Conservation Bank, the Palmetto Conservation Foundation and dedicated donors, for their role in this initial preservation victory at Hobkirk Hill. In addition to being one of the many locations found along The Liberty Trail, acreage here will go toward the Trust’s goal to save 2,500 acres of Revolutionary War battlefield land for the 250th anniversary of America’s founding conflict.
Journey along The Liberty Trail with our free mobile app! Download through the App Store or Google Play, or access online via the web app, to learn more about how America’s independence was secured in the Carolinas across its swamps, fields, woods and mountains. Connecting battlefields across the Palmetto State while telling the captivating stories of this transformative chapter of American history, the app is the perfect companion to a “Revolutionary” trip.