Flush from the success of the Banastre Tarleton and Camden Campaign Symposia,
Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site announces a symposium & battlefield
tours pertaining to the life and military campaigns of “The Gamecock”: Patriot
Brigadier General Thomas Sumter.
The symposium will be held at the historic Robert Mills Courthouse in Camden, SC from 1:00-5:00 pm on Friday, April 8th. Lead presenter, Dr. Dan L. Morrill, history professor at UNC-Charlotte and author of Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution, will address Thomas Sumter’s life up to 1780 – his early Virginia years, military service in French and Indian War and Continental Army, London trip with three Cherokee Chiefs to meet King George III, financial problems, and move to South Carolina. Dr. Thomas L. Powers, USC-Sumter history professor, will discuss Gen. Sumter, the gutsy partisan commander of the SC militia during the 1780-81 Southern Campaign and the tactics and battles that earned him the name of the “Gamecock.” Thomas Sumter descendant Thomas Sumter Tisdale, a Charleston lawyer and author of A Lady of the High Hills, a biography about the general’s daughter-in-law, will review Sumter’s distinguished post-war years in politics and business. The symposium will close with a panel discussion about Thomas Sumter by the presenters moderated by Dr. Jeffrey W. Dennis, professor of history at Morehead State University, KY.
Evening entertainments will include a candlelight reception at the Joseph Kershaw House at Historic Camden Revolutionary War site on Friday evening and, on Saturday, an elegant dinner and premier performance of a dramatic monologue on the “Gamecock,” written and presented by noted British thespian and playwright, Howard Burnham of Columbia, SC.
Saturday and Sunday are devoted to battlefield tours. Each day, attendees will travel by bus to some of the Gamecock’s important battle sites, many of which are unmarked and on private property. Bus guides will be Charles B. Baxley and David P. Reuwer, acclaimed battle sites tour guides of the Tarleton and Camden Campaign symposia. An attorney by profession, Baxley is past president of the Kershaw County Historical Society and creator-editor of the in-depth newsletter, Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. An adjunct professor of historic preservation at the College of Charleston for the past five years, attorney Reuwer’s second vocation is the documentation and preservation of Revolutionary War battlefield throughout the South. Reuwer was the lead surveyor of the Eutaw Springs Battlefield.
Each field trip will include opportunities to walk the battle sites and hear riveting presentations by on-site guides. Saturday will focus be on some of Sumter’s important battles in the upcountry – from his actions at Rocky Mount on the Wateree River, Hanging Rock, Fish Dam Ford of the Broad River, and Blackstock’s Plantation on the Tyger River. Sunday’s tour will encompass Sumter’s 1781 “Dog Days” of summer campaign to “thunder at the gates of Charles Town.” We will visit the majestic ruins of Biggin Church and Wadboo Bridge, pay our respects to US President Henry Laurens at Mepkin Abbey, and follow Sumter to Quinby Creek Bridge and walk the avenue of oaks to his final battlefield at Shubrick’s Plantation. The battlefield tour will end with a visit to Sumter’s tomb and a tour of the Sumter Museum, highlighted by the premier viewing of a newly acquired miniature portrait of Thomas Sumter and a wine & cheese reception.