On this Throwback Thursday-Yep, I’m still doing them- I’m concentrating on national parks close to Asheville.
Cowpens National Battlefield is only a little more than an hour from Asheville. It’s a revolutionary war battlefield in South Carolina. Though well-known as the site of the start of the Civil War, South Carolina has more Revolutionary War sites than any other state–any other state. There was plenty of revolutionary war action in the South.
Yes, you can learn about the battle itself. The patriots came from this way, the British came from the other corner. But here is what I find fascinating.
In 1865, the Washington Light Infantry, a Charleston militia made up of the city’s leading citizens, erected a thin spire on top of a concrete base on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the battle. However, they did more than just leave their name at Cowpens.
They attempted to unify the state of South Carolina by bringing white shells from the lowcountry at Fort Moultrie.
Today the ground around the monument is filled with white pebbles. The group had celebrated the Revolutionary War victory for over fifty years in Charleston, but now they vowed to make a pilgrimage to Cowpens. By then, with the division between North and South so pronounced, commemoration of Revolutionary battlefields could be used to invoke either the sectionalism of the South or the national unity agenda of the North.
This is not the only Revolutionary War battlefield in the South that was invoked to deal with the coming split within the country.
Each year the park holds a special event on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the battle. Next year, on January 16 – 17, 2016, there will be weapons demonstrations, Dragoons with their horses marching in formation, fife and drum – the whole Revolutionary War celebration. And I’ll be there.