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Explore Revolutionary War Sites in the South

You don't have to be a history buff—just someone who likes good stories—to appreciate the sites that played a role in the Revolutionary War.


And in the South, from Virginia to Georgia, there are many for you to explore. 


Add some of these locations to your itinerary the next time you plan a trip to any of the four states (and a bonus one) that were once part of the 13 colonies.

St. John's Church in Richmond, Va., personal collection

Virginia is undoubtedly teeming with history as the state that produced four of the first five presidents. Home to presidential sites like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, George Washington's Mt. Vernon, and the Historic Triangle, to name a few, nearly everywhere in the state, you will find a historical site related to the American Revolution.


You can visit battlefields like Yorktown and Great Bridge or specific haunts like Gadsby's Tavern Museum in Alexandria.


At its inception, the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail primarily focused on Patrick Henry, highlighting places like St. John's Church in Richmond, where Henry gave his fiery "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" speech in 1775 during the Second Virginia Convention and Hampden-Syndney College, co-founded by Henry. However, it has expanded to feature sites of other notable residents who made an impact during this time, like The John Marshall House in Richmond, home of the "Great Chief Justice," and Gunston Hall in Lorton, home to George Mason, the "Father of the Bill of Rights."


Don't overlook the Turn Trail, which is dedicated to the 2014-2017 AMC series focusing on America's first spy ring. Discover the historic sites used in filming the episodes.


The building blocks of the republic ... Stafford is home to Government Island, once the quarry site that provided Aquia sandstone to construct the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.  Now, it is a historic park with a walking trail and more.


Charlotte (N.C.) Liberty Walk, personal collection

The fourth-most populous colony, North Carolina, was home to the "Halifax Resolves." Adopted in 1776, it was the first official action calling for independence. At Historic Halifax, you can learn more about the town and its citizens through exhibits, guided tours of historic structures and more.


See the remnants of the colonial port town of Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson. Destroyed by British troops, it was never rebuilt. Outdoor exhibits detail the town's history.


North Carolina was also home to the Edenton Tea Party. In Edenton, you can visit the Penelope Barker House Welcome Center, the former residence of the woman behind the rebellion. While there, swing by the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse and Cupola House.


Significant battlefields to check out include Moores Creek National Battlefield and Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, home of the Battle of Guilford Court House. Moores Creek was the first significant victory for the Patriots, while the Battle of Guilford is known as the "largest, most hotly-contested" skirmish.


There are trails to discover, too. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail traverses 330 miles through four states (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina) following the critical 1780 Kings Mountain campaign. In Charlotte, the Charlotte Liberty Walk highlights the city's many Revolutionary historic sites and spots.


President George Washington dined and danced here and slept there ... In 1791, at Tryon Palace in New Bern, a dinner and dance were held for President Washington during his tour of the southern colonies. Washington also spent two nights at The Salem Tavern in Winston-Salem.

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, S.C., personal collection

South Carolina was one of two colonies (the second being New Jersey) that saw the most Revolutionary War battles. Many were pivotal, like Kings Mountain and Cowpens. The Patriots' success began with the Battle of Huck's Defeat in 1780. Learn more at Historic Brattonsville, a 775-acre site with over 30 historic structures, Hightower Hall (used in Mel Gibson's 2000 movie, "The Patriot") and more.


Historic Brattonsville is one of seven Revolutionary War-related sites in the state's Olde English District. Also found in this region are the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site in Clinton, the place of the Battle of Musgrove Mill, and Camden, the oldest inland city, home to the Battle of Camden and the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill.


Don't forget about the cities themselves. Spartanburg and Charleston provide information in a self-guided tour format highlighting structures relevant to the period. Florence has the SC Revolutionary River Trail, a 66-mile trail that guides paddlers through the same path "Swamp Fox" General Francis Marion and his militia took. There is also the Francis Marion Trail, which is divided into three separate tours (PeeDee, Claredon and Berkeley), each one pointing out some of Marion's stomping grounds.


Did You Know...Ninety-Six National Historic Site, which saw two Revolutionary War battles, is considered one of the best-preserved battle sites.

Elijah Clark State Park in Lincolnton, Ga., personal collection

Even though Georgia was the least populated colony, it played a role during the Revolutionary War. In 1776, Savannah was the site of the Battle of the Rice Boats. Three years later, defying Colonel McIntosh's "come and take it," Fort Morris in Midway fell. The Midway Museum provides further insight into the town's colonial history and notable residents.

However, a month later, the Patriots would win the Battle of Kettle Creek. Located outside present-day Washington, "War Hill" commemorates those who fought. Be sure to explore the trails, which include information on the battle.

Not to be overlooked is Elijah Clark State Park in Lincolnton. Clark, a frontiersman, was mainly responsible for the Kettle Creek victory. On the state park's grounds are a replica of Clark's cabin and the graves of Clark and his wife.

Don't Cross Nancy Hart... During her time in Wilkes County, Nancy Hart's mission was to eliminate Georgia of Tories, and she did so by various means. She also served as a spy for the Patriots.

 

Then There's Florida ...

Fort George in Pensacola, Fla., personal collection

In loose interpretation, Florida was briefly the fourteenth and fifteenth colonies when the British took control in 1763. Splitting it into two, East Florida included St. Augustine as the capital, while West Florida had Pensacola as the capital. Not much came out of this; however, a few skirmishes were fought here, such as the Battle of Alligator Creek and the Battle of Thomas Creek near Callahan.


For sites, in Pensacola, there's Fort George, the largest trio of fortifications on Gage Hill. The Colonial Archaeological Trail throughout downtown highlights Spanish, British, and American occupations. Over in St. Augustine, the city highlights its colonial past, which ties into its earlier history.




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