Uncovering Camden: Exploring Revolutionary War History and Battlefield Discoveries

Camden Battlefield cannon demonstration
Camden Battlefield cannon demonstration

Camden Battlefield: Revolutionary War History & New Discoveries: Podcast Episode + Travel Tips

In this episode of the “Travels with Darley” podcast, host Darley Newman takes listeners to Camden, South Carolina, to explore its rich Revolutionary War history. Joined by military historian Rick Wise and David Duncan from the American Battlefield Trust, Darley delves into the pivotal Battle of Camden, its modern-day archaeological discoveries, and the profound sacrifices of the soldiers who fought there. The episode offers a unique perspective on why visiting historical battlefields remains relevant and important today. Listen to this episode here!

Podcast episode:

The episode begins with an introduction to Camden, South Carolina, emphasizing its significance during the American Revolution as a major British supply post and the site of the pivotal Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780. Unfortunately for the Patriots, this battle ended disastrously. Military historian Rick Wise provides insights into the battle, describing the battlefield’s terrain and the tactical defeat suffered by the American militia.

Darley and Rick Wise
Darley and Military historian Rick Wise explore Camden Battlefield

As they walk through the battlefield, Rick shares poignant stories about the soldiers, including five Continental soldiers buried together. He highlights the sacrifices these men made and their role in subsequent battles that contributed to American independence. The conversation also touches on the discovery of soldiers’ remains in 2020, an effort led by historians, archaeologists, and forensic analysts. David Duncan from the American Battlefield Trust discusses the significance of this discovery and the respectful study and reburial of the remains in a 2023 ceremony.

Battle of Camden marker
Battle of Camden Marker

The episode then shifts to a dynamic demonstration of a three-pounder cannon by reenactor Tray Dunaway, who is involved with the yearly “Battle of Camden Reenactment.” Darley participates in firing the cannon, giving listeners a sensory experience of the loud and jarring reality of artillery used during the Revolution. Tray explains the steps involved in operating the cannon and its impact on the battlefield.

Travel Facts and Tips:

  • The city of Camden in South Carolina is the oldest inland city in the state
  • Rick Wise was a soldier for 23 years, and feels a deep connection to this site and what transpired here
  • For over 50 years, Camden has hosted the largest force-on-force Revolutionary War reenactment in the nation.
  • Crews used to shoot the cannon 4-5 times a minute
  • To learn more about the history and advice for trip-planning here, visiting battlefields.org, the site of the American Battlefields Trust, as well as The Liberty Trail App 

If you truly want to feel connected to Revolutionary War history, Camden Battlefield is a must-visit! 

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