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Historic Battle sites in Laurens County

Visiting historical battlefield sites is a unique and educational experience, especially for those interested in American history. These sites offer a glimpse into the past, allowing visitors to learn about the key events and battles that took place during the American Revolution. Each battlefield site has its own story to tell, from the tactics used by soldiers to the sacrifices they made. Walking the grounds where history was made helps to bring a deeper understanding and appreciation of the events that shaped our nation. Whether you are a history buff or simply looking to learn more about the past, visiting a historical battlefield site is a must-see experience.


Culbertson Back County Settlement

The Culbertson Back Country Settlement is on a beautiful two-acre circle on the old Georgia Road in Gray Court, just in front of the old Gray Court cemetery on the hill. The road was an old wagon road to Georgia that once was traveled by stagecoach to the Dorroh Inn just down the road. The Settlement consists of two log cabins, a block house, a one-room African-American school, a corn crib, an 1882 church, and a blacksmith shop


In November of 1780, after Thomas Sumter's stunning victory over Banastre Tarleton at Blackstock's Farm in neighboring Union county, the Patriot forces split up to return home. The Georgia militia under Twiggs, Clarke, and Few were joined by the Lower Ninety-Six Regiment under Hammond, McCall, and Liddell. These Patriots got word that a Loyalist force was encamped at "Hail's Old Place" near present-day Piedmont in Greenville County. When the Loyalists got word that the Patriots were coming after them, they abandoned their fort and retreated south across the Saluda River into Abbeville County from Laurens County at Rutledge Ford. A shootout occurred across the river. Several men from both sides were killed, The Loyalists abandoned their position and retreated further to the British post at Ninety Six. The Georgians continued their journey home, and on Dec. 12, 1780, were attacked and defeated at the Battle of Long Canes in McCormick County.

Dicey Langston

Dicey Langston is a true Laurens County heroine, and her exploits gained international fame.


This is an extremely important Laurens County site and is the location of the only offensive action by the Cherokees in present-day Laurens County during the Cherokee War of 1776. On July 15, 1776, several hundred Cherokees and Loyalists dressed as Cherokees (Scopholites) attacked the fort at midnight. After a brisk two-hour gun battle, the defenders sallied from the fort and broke the attack.

Fort Ridgeway

Fort Ridgeway was built on the land owned by Patriot Capt. John Ridgeway. There were two actions here. In Aug. of 1781, the fort was attacked by Loyalist forces. On Sept. 5, 1781, the fort was attacked again by Loyalists operating under the command of William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham. Capt. Ridgeway and 9 other Patriots were killed in this action. The actual location of the fort is unknown, other than it was located on Dirty Creek.


The day after the Battle of Hammond's Store, the surviving Loyalists retreated to Ft. Williams, which was the fortified plantation of Gen James Williams, the Laurens County hero who died at King's Mountain. Fort Williams had been taken over by Gen. Williams' bitter enemy, Loyalist General Robert Cunningham, another Laurens County resident.


The retreating Loyalists were pursued by Col. Joseph Hayes and the Little River Regiment. They caught up with the Loyalists as they were abandoning the fort, and 8 additional Loyalists were killed.


The Battle of Mudlick Creek. This battle was fought on 3/2/1781. After the victory at Cowpens, the Patriot Continental Army retreated to Virginia in the Race to the Dan to refit and resupply. The Backcountry of South Carolina was now unprotected, and the Loyalists reestablished their base at Ft. Williams.


Capt. Benjamin Roebuck of the Spartan Regiment took notice of this reemergence of Loyalist activity and attacked Ft. Williams with 150 men. This action turned into a running gun battle along the length of Mudlick Creek, extending into Newberry County. Capt. Roebuck was wounded and captured in this battle, and the battle is also referred to as "Roebuck's Defeat", although it is generally regarded as a Patriot victory.


This is the home of Capt. Patrick Cunningham, a Loyalist leader in the Revolution. It was the first house built from sawn lumber in present-day Laurens County. Patrick Cunningham was the wealthiest man in the county during this time. He was also the largest slaveowner, owning 40 slaves. 

Also, of the highest importance is the interpretation of Capt. Cunningham's granddaughter, Ann Pamela Cunningham who saved Mt. Vernon from falling into destruction from neglect.

Hammond's old store

Old Hammond's Store is another extremely important Laurens County site. It is the location of the Patriot victory on Dec. 29, 1780, where 280 cavalry and militiamen operating under the command of Col. William Washington (George Washington's 2nd cousin) defeated a like number of marauding Tories operating under the control of Georgian Thomas Waters. The Little River Militia (Laurens County) was heavily involved in this battle. 100 Tories were killed, 100 wounded and captured, and 40 escaped. There were no Patriot casualties. Many regard this action as a massacre. This battle occurred three weeks before Cowpens and is regarded as a preliminary action in this campaign. As a result of Hammond's Store, Backcountry Patriot militiamen flocked to join Daniel Morgan's army, and Loyalist militiamen went to the ground. 1,000 Patriot militiamen fought at Cowpens, and only 50 Loyalists chose to do so. And, many regard Hammond's Store as a foreboding sign of future gruesome events.


This is the site of a blockhouse built by Joseph Kellett for protection from Native American raids during pioneer times. During the Revolutionary War, it was garrisoned by local militia, and Joseph Kellett provided supplies for the Patriot army. It was a sister fort to Ft. Lindley and came to Ft. Lindley's defense during the attack on that fort.

Hollingsworth mill

Hollingsworth Mill is the site of the largest offensive military encampment in South Carolina to ever occur on this side of Columbia. The mill was located at the intersection of Rabon Creek and Dirty Creek. In December of 1775, Col. Richard Richardson and 4,000 Patriot militia from South Carolina and North Carolina camped here as part of the Snow Campaign. In this campaign Loyalist Leaders from throughout the Backcountry were arrested. On Dec. 22, 1775, Major "Danger" Thompson led a flying column of 1,300 men from this camp to confront Loyalist Capt. Patrick Cunningham at the Battle of the Great Cane Brake.


Other than the churches, Hayes Station is the most sacred site in Laurens County. This is the site where Bloody Bill Cunningham on Nov. 19, 1781, brutally murdered Col Joseph Hayes and 18 honorable men of the Little River Regiment after they had surrendered. The bodies were chopped to pieces, and it is reported that 14 of these men are buried on the site in two common graves.


The legend of Liberty Springs holds that during the early part of the Revolutionary War before the conflict became so bitterly ugly, two opposing armies were squared off on either side of the springs. These armies found themselves waylaid by a greater enemy than either one of them presented to the other. These armies were suffering from the effects of deadly smallpox. A truce was arranged. It was decided that if opposing forces needed the succor of the springs, if they laid down their weapons, they could have unfettered access to the healing waters. Alas, truces of this sort soon proved short-lived, and the war became a bitter civil war with unspeakable atrocities. Liberty Springs became a fleeting period of grace during this very calamitous time.

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