Beaufort Today -

@ Your Library: Celebrate Liberty Days with free lecture, tours

Few people know that South Carolina had the most Revolutionary War military engagements.

The textbooks imply that most of the fighting was concentrated in Virginia, around New York and Massachusetts, and whatever happened in the Southern colonies was of little consequence. However, few people in the South were left untouched by the conflict.

During the war, some of the heaviest fighting took place here. The landscape was ruined.

“The Beaufort District was devastated by the Revolutionary War,” Dr. Lawrence Rowland says in “The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina, Volume 1: 1514-1861.

“Most of the major plantations on Hilton Head Island and the mainland of St. Luke’s and Prince William parishes were partially or wholly destroyed.”

And the war was costly. The war effort cost South Carolinians about $120 million.

With a white population of less than 100,000, South Carolina was the only state to pay its full requisition to the Continental Congress in 1783, but by doing so it removed specie from circulation and helped fuel inflation.

The Rev. Archibald Simpson, a Presbyterian minister from Scotland who served in churches in the Colleton and Beaufort districts from 1754-72, returned in 1783 to find:

“All … was desolation … every field, every plantation showed marks of ruin and devastation … The British & the American armies having carried off all my fine breed of horses, and several hundred head of cattle … Was all day entertained with the account of the most horrid transactions of the British Army & the Loyalists, during the war.”

The kickoff event for Liberty Days here in Beaufort and Jasper counties is a talk about the Revolutionary War heritage of South Carolina sponsored by the Beaufort County Historical Society and Beaufort District Collection.

Douglas Bostick, executive director of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust, will speak in the Beaufort Branch Library meeting room at 2 p.m. today. Free tickets will be distributed beginning at 1 p.m. and will close when all 85 tickets are taken. There is a limit of two tickets per customer.

The Beaufort County Historical Society spearheaded Liberty Days, arranging a full schedule of activities and free admission to participating museums on select days. For links to participating partner websites, see the Beaufort District Collection’s Connections blog post on Liberty Days.

Partners in Liberty Days include the South Carolina Historical Society, Beaufort County Historical Society, Beaufort County Library, Beaufort History Museum, Coastal Discovery Museum, Heritage Library, Daufuskie Island Historic Foundation, Historic Beaufort Foundation, Historic Port Royal Foundation, Bluffton Historical Preservation Society, Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, Parris Island Historical & Museum Society, Friends of Fort Fremont, Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center, Santa Elena History Center, and Sons of the American Revolution. Additional funding is provided by Humanities SC.

Grace Morris Cordial is coordinator of the Beaufort County Library System’s Beaufort District Collection.