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Battle of Musgrove Mill

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PARK ADVISORY

The British Camp Trail is closed due to flooding. The canoe launch and adjacent parking lot are also closed. 

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HOURS

Main Gate: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily Visitor Center: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mon - Thurs, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Fri - Sun Horseshoe Falls Area: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily Musgrove Mill Battlefield: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily Blackstock Battlefield: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

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ADMISSION

$3 adults; $1.50 SC seniors; $1 children age 6-15; age 5 & younger free

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PETS

Pets are allowed in most outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife.

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Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

Midlands

Blackstocks Battlefield

Today, the site of the November 20,1780 Battle of Blackstocks is under the care and protection of the Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. While currently undeveloped,

plans are being made with several organizations for the development of the site to better protect and tell the history of the battlefield. At present, a moderately difficult 1.5-mile loop passage of the Palmetto Trail goes through the site for those looking for a hike. For anyone interested in just viewing the battlefield and monument, access is available for foot traffic only along the half-mile gravel roadway around Monument Hill. 

Please be aware of the dynamic characteristics of the natural environment.  There are some areas that may be potentially hazardous.  All visitors should exercise caution when visiting any state park. Visitors to the Blackstocks Battlefield are required to stay either on the Palmetto Trail or the gravel roadway while visiting the battlefield to help protect the battlefield and prevent injuries. This also helps preserve and protect the battlefield area from the damage and erosion of unrestricted foot traffic.

History

The Battle of Blackstocks, November 20, 1780

Commanders:

Patriots: General Thomas Sumter British: Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton

Forces Involved: 

  • Note: Sources are varied and conflicting on the numbers that fought on both sides so currently these numbers are estimates which will become more precise after more research is done. 

Patriots: Between 500-700 -South Carolina and Georgia militia British: Between 270-530 -63rd Regiment (as mounted infantry); British Legion Dragoons Losses: Patriot: Killed: 3; Wounded:4; Captured: Unknown

British: Killed: 92; Wounded:76; Captured: Unknown

Summary of Battle:

In response to General Thomas Sumter gathering militias who were raiding gristmills in the South Carolina Backcountry along the Tyger and Enoree Rivers and threatening the British garrison at Ninety-Six, Lord Cornwallis ordered Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to stop his futile chase of the ‘Swamp Fox’ Col. Francis Marion to deal with the threat of Sumter. Tarleton with his forces, consisting of the British Legion Dragoons and infantry, the 63rd Regiment (acting as mounted infantry), the Light Companies of the army, and one 3-pounder cannon, was able to march secretly into the Backcountry and cross the Broad River at Shiroe’s Ferry before Sumter learned of Tarleton’s advance from a deserter of the 63rd

After learning of Tarleton’s advance, Sumter ordered his force to begin a retreat toward the Tyger River. In an attempt to catch the Patriots, Tarleton left his slow-moving infantry and cannon behind and rushed ahead with just his mounted troops. Learning of this from a local woman, Mary Dillard, Sumter decided to stand and fight late in the day at the farm of William Blackstock on the banks of the Tyger River. Sumter set up his defensive line along a steep hill and ridge in a curve of the Tyger River with an open field surrounded by a strong wooden fence in front. Seeing these strong defenses, Tarleton uncharacteristically paused, dismounting the 63rd and forming them in the open field then waiting for his infantry and cannon to arrive. Gen. Sumter, seeing this, sent a force down into the open field to attack the 63rd in order to force the British into a fight.

While this force advanced and engaged the 63rd in the field, Gen. Sumter ordered Colonel Edward Lacey to ride around the left flank of the British line and attack the British Legion Dragoons and Colonel Elijah Clark to lead his men around the right flank of the British line and attack the 63rd from the rear. Col. Lacey’s force managed to advance undetected within a few yards of the Legion Dragoons firing a volley that killed several men and horses, but were then pushed back by a counter charge by the mounted Legion Dragoons. Col. Clark and his men also managed to advance undetected around the right flank of the British line. However, the tide of battle bypassed them, forcing them to become spectators for the rest of the battle when the 63rd, under the command of a young inexperienced officer Lieutenant John Money, fixed their bayonets and advanced against the Patriots attacking them in the field.

This bayonet charge, while forcing the militia to retreat back to the top of the ridge, also caused the 63rd to advance too far into the open field and into the range of all of the Patriot riflemen on the hill and ridge. Under this concentrated rifle fire, Lt. Money and the other two officers of the 63rd fell wounded and the 63rd became pinned down in the field. Seeing the 63rd pinned down out in the open and Lt. Money falling wounded, Tarleton led a charge with his Dragoons rescuing what remained of the 63rd. However, he lost many men and horses due to the fence and steep ridge forcing him to retreat from the battlefield. This Patriot victory was the first defeat handed to Tarleton so far in the war. Near the end of the fighting Sumter was seriously wounded, putting him out of the war for several months and causing his militia force to break apart.

For a more detailed account of the battle, please watch this video of Interpretive Ranger Mark Stanford giving a talk on the Battle of Blackstocks on the 241st Anniversary of the battle on November 20, 2021:


Video credit, Dave Desmarais of the South Carolina Society Sons of the American Revolution.

Ranger Guided Battlefield Hikes

Ranger Guided Battlefield Hikes of the Blackstock Battlefield are available upon request for groups of 10 or more people. This two-hour hike is a unique experience of hiking an undeveloped Revolutionary War battlefield. You will learn about the history of the Nov. 20, 1780 battle of Blackstocks, the leaders and men from both sides that fought the battle and the importance of the battle to the Patriot cause. Hike is mostly off trail for 2-miles over moderately difficult terrain. 

Cost: $10.00 per participant

For more information or if you would like to schedule a Ranger Guided Battlefield Hike please contact Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, email us at mgmillsp@scprt.com or call the Battle of Musgrove Mill Visitor Center at (864) 938-0100.

Address:

568 Monument Road, Enoree, SC 29335

Hours:

Blackstock Battlefield: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily Palmetto Trail Blackstock Battlefield Passage: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

Admission:

Currently Admission is Free

Contact Information: mgmillsp@scprt.com 864-938-0100

For more information about future programs, ranger guided hikes, and events check the Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site Programs & Events page.




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