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Battle of Camden Rememberance Day filled with activities

Posted: August 10, 2014 1:10 p.m.
Updated: August 11, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The village smithy was often the center of industry for colonial towns

Saturday, August 16, 2014, will be the 234th anniversary of the Battle of Camden, considered the worst Patriot field battle defeat of the American Revolution. It was fought at dawn nine miles north of the town of Camden, at the time a strategically significant British garrison worthy of capture by the Americans.

To commemorate this important event in our nation’s history, Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site invites families and history buffs to attend its free annual Battle of Camden Remembrance Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Stoking up the traditional forge they built for Historic Camden’s Blacksmith Shed will be members of the Philip Simmons Artists-Blacksmith Guild of South Carolina. Hailing from around the state, these artisans will skillfully work at their anvils from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Observers and aspiring blacksmiths are encouraged to ask the smithies to share their vast knowledge of this ancient craft.

From 10:30 a.m. to noon, kids of all ages are invited to sample life in colonial times from playing colonial games and going on a Revolutionary War Scavenger Hunt to trying on period clothes. At 11:30 a.m., families, especially kids ages 6 to 12, will enjoy a story about the brave Baron de Kalb, who fought for the Patriots at the Battle of Camden and is buried in downtown Camden.

Occasionally, musket firings will pierce the air courtesy of Ed Grossheim of Camden as he interprets life a Backcountry militiaman. In Colonial America men, 16 to 60 were required to serve in the local militia and monthly practice military drills, weapon firings, etc., in readiness for possible threats to their community or colony.

Camden’s Founding Father, Col. Joseph Kershaw, was commander of Camden’s militia unit. The unit participated in several Revolutionary War engagements and was among the many paroled at the surrender of Charleston in May 1780. Significantly, abandonment of some 2,000 militiamen from Virginia and North Carolina at the

onset of Battle of Camden was a major contributor the disastrous defeat of the Americans.

At 11 a.m., the public is invited to attend a brief wreath-laying ceremony at the Camden Battlefield hosted by the Colonel Joseph Kershaw Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. The battlefield is located 9 miles north of Camden on Flat Rock Road (Broad Street becomes U. S. Hwy 521 North for about four miles, then left on Flat Rock Road to battlefield).

After a lunch break from 12 to 1:30 p.m., colonial games, scavenger hunt and other guest activities will resume until 3 p.m. Additionally, on the hour commencing at 1:00 p.m. will be viewings of the Sumter SCETV ½ hour documentary on the battle, "Sunrise at Gum Swamp,"in the film room located in the Dot Trot.

Mr. Kershaw’s imposing white mansion will be open for tours of the museum floor from 2 to 4 p.m., and light refreshments will be served. The Colonial Georgian-styled house is a reconstruction of the original commandeered by Lord Cornwallis when the British occupied Camden as their main supply post during the Revolution’s 1780-81 Southern Campaign.

The Battle of Camden Remembrance Day memorializes an engagement that seriously affected the outcome of the fight for independence and the forming of our nation. We hope you and your family will join us for this special day of fun and commemorating.

The mission of Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site is to discover, preserve and interpret things pertaining to early Camden to 1825. The museum is governed by the trustees of the Historic Camden Foundation, a 501 (c) non-profit organization, and annually receives some funding from the City of Camden, County of Kershaw, foundations, businesses and individuals.

For further information call (803) 432-9841, fax (803) 432-3815, e-mail or check www. on the Internet. Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site is located at 222 Broad Street, Camden, SC, 1.4 miles on Highway 521 North, Exit 98/I-20.


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