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American Revolution History by
American Revolution History by
Legend: Selected Site Area Merchant Site Historic Site Historic Marker Historic Shipwreck
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1776 Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War
The Federalist Papers Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West John Adams
Benjamin Franklin : An American Life The Bloody & Brave History of Native American Warriors & the Women Who Supported Them
Click here for additional books

We the Kids : The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States The New Americans : Colonial Times: 1620-1689 (The American Story)
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery A History of US: Vol 3, From Colonies to Country (A History of Us)
Let It Begin Here!: Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
They Called Her Molly Pitcher Now &  Ben : The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

Pirates and Traders: Gold! Hidden Treasures Hidden Object
Dedaloop (Kindle Fire Edition) Word Treasure
Treasure Island, The Experience Robinson Crusoe
The Patriots Hero Tales from American History - AudioBook

Selected Site

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail preserves and commemorates the route of Patriot militia during the 1780 Kings Mountain campaign. During that historic event, on October 6, 1780, American forces stopped here at the Cow Pens to rest and eat before continuing on that night in pursuit of the British force.

Part of a larger National Trails System, the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail stretches approximately 330 miles from Abingdon, Virginia, through East Tennessee, over the high mountains of North Carolina, across the piedmont of North and South Carolina to Kings Mountain National Military Park administered by the National Park Service.

'We marched to the Cowpens,
Campbell was there,

Shelby, Cleveland, and
Colonel Sevier;

Men of renown, sir,
Like lions, so bold-

Like lions undaunted,
ne'er to be controlled.

We set out on our march
that very same night;

Sometimes we were wrong,
sometimes we were right;

Our hearts being run in
true liberty's mold,

We valued not hunger,
wet, weary, or cold.

On the top of Kings Mountain
the old rogue we found,

And, like brave heroes,
his camp did surround;

Like lightning, the flashes;
like thunder, the noise;

Our rifles struck the poor
Tories with sudden surprise.'

Lossing, Vol. ll

Click on heading to visit the website (excludes markers).

Nearby Historic Sites

Cowpens National Battlefield

4001 Chesnee Highway
Gaffney, SC, 29341

Click on any heading to visit the website.

Nearby Historical Markers

"...A Most Dreary Appearance"

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

In 1849, journalist-historian Benson Lossing traveled to the Scruggs farm seeking information about the Cowpens battle. Using the house as a point of reference, he located fields 'within a quarter mile of the Scruggs' where the battle raged more than half a century before.

Journalist Lossing noted that the battlefield presented 'a most dreary appearance.' Ax and plow had turned an open hardwood forest into stumps, pine thickets and cornfields.

A Race for the Grasshopper

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

Near the end of the battle, as the Americans swept forward, two Continental officers sought to capture the enemy's light 3-pounder 'grasshopper' cannons. Captain Anderson of Maryland won the race when he used his spontoon to vault forward onto one of the grasshoppers. Captain Kirkwood of Delaware captured the other.

After Victory

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

After victory at Cowpens, American commander, General Daniel Morgan marches his army off this field to the north and crossed the Broad River. In North Carolina, Morgan dismissed the militia.

Many of the heroes of Cowpens helped build the nation. Some stayed in their native states; others crossed the mountains to open the West. At least ten served in Congress, representing five states.

The victory at Cowpens was a decisive battle leading to the British surrender at Yorktown.

Col. James Williams

East Gaffney, SC, 29340

Col. James Williams
Hero of the battle of
Kings Mountain
Erected by
Daniel Morgan Chapter D.A.R.

Colonel Howard's Misunderstood Order

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

After firing twice, the militia retreated behind the Continentals who were awaiting the British reinforcements, Fraser's 71st Highlanders, threatened the Continentals' right flank, Lt, Col. Howard ordered his right flank to turn to face them. His center and left flank misunderstood and began an orderly retreat. Sensing victory, the British broke ranks and surged forward. Morgan ordered the Continentals to face about and fire at close range. Raw recruits of the British 7th Regiment panicked and fell back. The Highlanders, still coming on like a mob, were repulsed. The stage was set for entrapment, annihilation, and an American victory.

Double Envelopment

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

On this field, the Continentals blunted the British advance, then charged with bayonets flashing. Cavalry hit the left and right of the 71st. The militia reformed and surged against the right and left. British troops found themselves overwhelmed and surrounded. Morgan had executed a Double Envelopment. In less than an hour, the crucial Battle of Cowpens had been decided.

The classic use of the military tactic of 'double envelopment' took place at the Battle of Cannae (in southern Italy) in 216 B.C. There, soldiers under the command of Hannibal, surrounded and crushed a much larger, superior Roman army.

Early Iron Works

Glendale, SC, 29307

Near here on Lawson's Fork, during the American Revolution, the S.C. government as part of the war effort supported Joseph Buffington, William Wofford, and others in the construction of an iron works. It became a well-known landmark and the scene of several skirmishes, notably the 'Battle of Wofford's Iron Works' on August 8, 1780.

Form the Line of Battle

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

Today Tarleton's force would be called a combined arms task force. It contained all the elements to conduct a quick movement and 'engage an enemy.' Ranks of redcoated fusiliers, regulars, and raw recruits of the 7th Regiment formed in this immediate area. Westlands impeded the maneuvers of the 7th, and Tarleton initiated the battle before they were completely deployed.

From Cow Pasture to Battlefield

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

The view seen beyond was a frontier pasturing ground, known locally as the Cow Pens. The name came from the custom of wintering cattle in the lush area around Thicketty Mountain.

General Daniel Morgan chose this ground for its tactical advantages: a river to discourage the ranks from breaking, rising ground on which to post his regulars, an open forest, and marsh on one side to thwart flanking maneuvers.


Gaffney, SC, 29340

The Grindal Shoals and Cherokee Ford roads crossed here when this land was originally granted to John Sarratt in 1799 by the State of South Carolina. Michael Gaffney purchased the land in 1804 and by 1820 Gaffney's Tavern was located at the crossroads. In 1873 John R. Logan laid out the present street plan, and Gaffney was incorporated as a town in 1875.

January 17, 1781

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

A decisive American victory fought in less than one hour. The British soldiers arrived at the Cow Pens about dawn. The right flank of the British army formed in this general area with the rest of the troops stretching across the Green River Road. Ahead, in the distance, Morgan's army awaited.

Landscape Restoration Project

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

In 1787 this field was a grassy meadow dotted with tall hardwoods, native grasses and cane. Today, the land is being restored to its appearance at the time of the battle.

Let'em Get Within Killing' Distance

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

The American second line of defense stood in position here. About sunrise, the British appeared. The militia, though not trained to stand against massed British bayonets, fought well and shot with deadly effect.

'At first it was pop, pop, pop [the sound of the rifles,] and then the whole volley. It seamed like one sheet of flame from right to left.'
Thomas Young
Militiaman, Fair Forest Regiment
17 years old

Limestone Springs

Gaffney, SC, 29340

Used as early as the American Revolution, this site became a "Summer Watering Place" in 1835. Low country aristocrats such as Governor David Johnson were attracted here by the climate and therapeutic waters. A post office was here from 1836 to 1879. Limestone College was established in 1845 as the Limestone Springs Female High School.

Michael Gaffney Home

East Gaffney, SC, 29340

Michael Gaffney was born in Granard Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1797. After a short period in New York, he set sail for Charleston, South Carolina. He departed Charleston for the upstate and arrived at Smith's Ford on the Broad River on December 17, 1800. There he met and married Mary 'Polly' Smith, daughter of John Smith on July 21, 1803.

Gaffney purchased 805 acres of land from John McKie on January 20, 1804 for $600.00. He then constructed this home, store and trading post at the corner of present day N.Granard Street and Baker Boulevard. This intersection was a Native American trail and wagon road. It became known as Gaffney's Crossroads later Gaffney Old Field.

Michael and Polly's first child was born June 1, 1804, most likely in this log home.

This hand hewed log home is donated to the City of Gaffney by the Gaffney Bicentennial Commission and Committees on this day June 23, 2006.

Sharpshooters at the Skirmish Line

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

The sharpshooters at the skirmish line waited until Tarleton's army got within shooting distance. Their orders were to slow Tarleton's advance with well-aimed rifle fire and then fall back to the militia second line. As the British came within range the militia delivered a deadly fire, dropping two-thirds of the officers, then funneled back though the Continental line.

Skirmishers Retreat, British Advance

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

After firing as ordered, the American skirmishers melted back to the second line of defense. Seeing this, the British troops moved forward at quickstep, raising a great shout as they advanced.

Soword Clash on Green River Road

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

Nearby, retreating British officers of the 17th Light Dragoons, clashed with pursuing American horsemen led by Lt. Col. William Washington. He quickly outpaced his troops, broke his weapon at the hilt when he got into a sword fight with a British officer. According to legend, Washington's young servant rode up just in time, saving his life by shooting the attacking British officer.

It is this account that probably inspired the artist William Ranney in 1845 to paint this vigorous battle scene. Washington and Tarleton raise their swords in the center while Washington's servant boy levels his pistol at a dragoon officer.

The British Army

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

British commander, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, ordered a detachment of cavalry forward to scatter the American skirmishers. The green-uniformed British Legion - Americans loyal to the king - awaited the order to advance.

The Cavalry (Dragoons) at Cowpens

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

The open forests proved well-suited for cavalry action. Fast-moving, hard-hitting mounted troops called Light Dragoons bolstered the 18th century infantry.

At least seventy South Carolina and Georgia mounted militiamen, armed with pistols and sabers issued for use in this campaign, augmented the veteran eighty plus-man American Dragoons of Lt. Col. William Washington. Posted in a swale nearby, they were hidden from the British.

The Continental Army at Cowpens

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

This line consisted of Continentals from Maryland and Delaware as well as militia from Virginia and North Carolina. Seasoned veterans under Lt. Col. John Eager Howard of Maryland, they had served at least one year and were Morgan's most reliable troops. Many served for the duration of the war. They were trained, paid, and uniformed by the Continental Congress.

The footprints on the ground approximate the position of one man in the Continental Army. The height of the common soldier was 5'-5'

Washington Light Infantry Monument

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

The Washington Light Infantry of Charleston, South Carolina, erected this monument in 1856 near the final stages of the Battle of Cowpens to commemorate the important American victory here. Though the years have changed much of the monument's original appearance, it stands today as the earliest testament to the valor of the Patriot Army at the Cowpens.

Washington Light Infantry Monument

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

This Monument was erected by
The Washington Light Infantry
Of Charleston S.C.
L.M. Hatch. Capt
April. 1856
Cowpens Chapter D.A.R.

Welcome to Cowpens National Battlefield

Ezell (historical), SC, 29341

This park commemorates a decisive battle that helped turn the tide of war in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution.

Whig Hall

Laurelwood, SC, 29340

This plantation, 1.5 mi. S. near Thicketty Creek, was settled about 1767 by John Nuckolls, Sr. (1732-1780), a native of Virginia. During the American Revolution, as the war in the backcountry became a vicious civil war, the plantation became known as 'Whig Hill' for Nuckolls's support of the patriot cause. He was murdered by Tories in December 1780 and is buried on his plantation.

Whig Hill

Laurelwood, SC, 29340

This plantation, 1.5 mi. S. near Thicketty Creek, was settled about 1767 by John Nuckolls, Sr. (1732-1780), a native of Virginia. During the American Revolution, as the war in the backcountry became a vicious civil war, the plantation became known as 'Whig Hill' for Nuckolls's support of the patriot cause. He was murdered by Tories in December 1780 and is buried on his plantation.

Community Histories



Michael A. Gaffney, born in Granard, Co. Longford, Ireland, in 1775, emigrated to America in 1797, arriving in New York and moving to Charleston, South Carolina a few years later. Gaffney moved again in 1804 to the South Carolina Upcountry (The Upstate) and established a tavern and lodging house at what became known as "Gaffney's Cross Roads." The location was perfect for growth because of the two major roads which met here, one from the mountains of North Carolina to Charleston and the other from Charlotte into Georgia. Michael Gaffney died here on September 6, 1854.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article ",_South_Carolina", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0


This region of the Carolina Piedmont was for centuries a cherished hunting ground of the Catawba and Cherokee tribes, which occupied land east and west of this area, respectively. This distant heritage can be glimpsed in some of the natural features.

Lawson’s Fork Creek, a tributary of the Pacolet River, was once known for its plentiful wildlife and crystal clear waters. Parks and woodlands line much of its banks (which lie entirely within Spartanburg County), and rocky shoals and natural waterfalls can be found throughout its course. It stretches from the northern end of the county to the eastern end, where it empties into the Pacolet.

The Cottonwood Trail is a walking trail that runs along part of Lawson’s Fork located on the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve. The trail includes picnic areas, a raised path over an extensive wetlands area and access to sporadic sandbars. It is used frequently by cyclists, joggers and walkers and is located just east of downtown. Since the Lawson's Fork floodplain is not suitable for development, wildlife populate the area. Larger animals that can be found here include white-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, pileated woodpeckers and snapping turtles.

Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve is located in the midst of an urban environment, but is a welcome oasis of natural beauty. The pet project of a retired social activist, Hatcher Garden has been transformed from an eroding gully into a thick woods and flower garden and serves as a haven for birds and other wildlife.

Early European settlers to this area included French fur trappers, English woodsmen, and Scots-Irish farmers. Few remnants survive from these early pioneering days, but traces can be found in the more rural areas of the county.

Walnut Grove Plantation, an 18th-century farmhouse, has been preserved by the Spartanburg County Historical Association. The site of a locally famous skirmish during the American Revolutionary War, it was the home of the Moore family. The plantation lies south of Spartanburg near the town of Roebuck and is open to the public for tours and during annual festivals.

The Seay House, another 18th-century home, is a better representative of the typical pioneer home. Its single stone fireplace and simple construction were common traits associated with farmsteads from this period.

The Price House, the third 18th-century home maintained by the Historical Association, is unique. Its sturdy Flemish-bond brick construction and three stories are less widespread for this area. By carefully examining the original inventory lists of the house, the Historical Association has been able to retrieve period pieces that approximate the original contents of the house.

First established in the 1780s as a courthouse village, Spartanburg may have been named for the Spartan regiment of the South Carolina militia. The city was incorporated in 1831, at the time of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens, a pivotal fight of the American Revolution that took place only a few miles away. The city’s streets and architectural record reflect the changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0