until the total solar eclipse.

South Carolina Revolutionary War Road Trip: Part 7 – Charleston

Explore the Revolutionary War on this 46-mile road trip into Charleston, South Carolina

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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South Carolina Revolutionary War Road Trip
10-Part Series

Did you know more Revolutionary War battles happened in South Carolina than in any other state? Explore the battlefields, historic sites, and museums with this 10-part series of road trips across the state.

Years into the Revolutionary War, the British began to think New England was a “hotbed” of rebellion and that George Washington was unstoppable. After the disastrous Battle of Saratoga, their focus suddenly changed. The Southern Strategy aimed to capture the prosperous southern colonies and force the Americans to surrender.

And it all depended on Charleston.

This road trip follows the route the British took in 1780 as they laid siege to Charleston and forced the city to surrender – the worst loss for the Americans in the Revolutionary War. Learn how the battle strategy came together, the historical sites you can visit, and the museums that tell pieces of the fascinating history.

Along the way, you’ll learn where to find great food and where to stay during the short road trip from Summerville to the sea.

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Get all the details at a glance to help plan the road trip. Use the map below to see the route and save it to your smartphone to use on the road trip.
Summerville, SC
Mount Pleasant, SC
46 miles
total distance
2-3 nights
suggested duration
itinerary stops
Points of Interest

How to use this map | Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the (very faint) star at the end of the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.



Summerville, SC

Summerville was founded in 1750 as a summer resort for Charlestonians escaping the brutal heat. The town was initially called Pineland Village because of the abundant pine trees. In 1899, the International Congress of Physicians in Paris declared Summerville one of the two best places in the world for treating and recovering from lung disorders because of the healthy benefits of the pine scent.

The town is often bypassed in favor of anxiously arriving in Charleston. But it’s worth taking a detour through the charming downtown – once you get past the menagerie of corporate retail America beside the interstate. Park anywhere for free around the small town square and walk to shopping and dining.

The Summerville-Dorchester Museum opened in 1991 with an impressive collection of artifacts. The exhibits tell the town’s history and the significance of the town’s moniker, Flowertown in the Pines.

Frothy Beard Off World Brewery and Taproom is the second location of a popular brewery that opened in Charleston in 2013. Owners Joey Siconolfi, Steve McCauley, and Michael Biondi keep a rotating menu of 32 craft beers on tap. It’s also a great place to get lunch with burgers, hotdogs, and chicken sandwiches on the menu.

Benny Mazzetto’s opened in 2020, the latest location of a countrywide chain of pizzerias. The company was founded by Virginia Tech graduates Zach Toth and Chris Brown in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2011. Their signature 28” pies feature homemade dough, fresh ingredients, and a proprietary blend of five cheeses. The pizza is 8 pounds, but you can order by the slice.

You might want to consider grabbing a coffee to go before leaving town. Cuppa Manna opened in 2015 when Mike and Janice Taylor wanted to create a community space for coffee lovers. They use fresh roasted beans from Charleston Coffee Roasters and feature a small menu of pastries and sandwiches.

The South Flanker is the only portion of the plantation house standing today – it now serves as the museum. (Top) Arthur Middleton’s tomb in a secluded section of the gardens. (Bottom)

No. 1

Middleton Place

The 15-mile stretch of Ashley River Road between Summerville and Charleston is a popular route for exploring plantations. It was also the route the British took before laying siege to the city in 1780.

Henry Middleton inherited land along the Ashley River when he married Mary Williams in 1741. The following year, Arthur Middleton was born. Throughout the Revolutionary War, the father and son duo played an essential part in Patriot politics, taking turns serving in the Continental Congress. Arthur Middleton was one of South Carolina’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence.


When Charleston was captured by the British in 1780, Henry retreated to his Middleton Place plantation. Arthur, however, was exiled to St. Augustine and then paroled to Philadelphia. He finally returned to Charleston after the war’s conclusion and died in 1787. His tomb is hidden among the shady trees in the formal gardens – not difficult to find if you know where to look.

General admission to Middleton Place includes the 65 acres of formal gardens, the Stableyards, and daily guided tours. The 30-minute tours include the Garden Tour, Beyond the Fields: Enslavement at Middleton Place, and Meet the Historic Livestock Breeds. Middleton Place Restaurant serves lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Pro Travel Tip

Book an additional tour of the House Museum for a self-guided tour in the South Flanker. Two months before the end of the Civil War, Union troops burned the plantation home and North Flanker.


No. 2

Drayton Hall

In 1738, John Drayton purchased property along the Ashley River. He was the third child of Thomas and Ann Drayton, who lived at nearby Magnolia Plantation. As the third child, he was unlikely to inherit anything – so he built his fortune.

The house was completed sometime in the 1750s. Today, it is regarded as one of the greatest examples of Georgian Palladian architecture in America.

Drayton died while evacuating Drayton Hall in 1779. With the home conveniently abandoned, the British commandeered it as General Charles Cornwallis’ field headquarters. Cornwallis remained in the house until November 1780, when he marched to Camden to secure North Carolina.

The one-hour guided tour of Drayton Hall begins with an orientation film in the visitor center complex. The walking tour explores the various levels of the house and includes a fascinating insight into the owners and architecture. After the guided tour, visitors are welcome to explore the grounds around the house.

Did You Know?

Drayton Hall is the only Ashley River plantation house extant today.

Broad Street is the widest street in Charleston and one of the originals from 1680.
Broad Street is the widest street in Charleston and one of the originals from 1680.


Charleston, SC

Founded in 1670, Charleston was the fourth largest city in the colonies at the start of the Revolutionary War. And it was six times wealthier than Philadelphia. After the financial burden of the Seven Years’ War, the British Parliament raised taxes on the prosperous colonies. The Townshend Acts established the precedent that Parliament was allowed to tax the colonies at will.

It began the rumblings of independence. As much as Boston led the Revolutionary War in the North, Charleston led the independence movement in the South. And that made Charleston a target.


In 1775, William Campbell, the last Royal governor of South Carolina, wrote, “Charles Town is the fountainhead from which all violence flows. Stop that, and the rebellion in this part of the continent will, I trust, soon be at an end.”

With the former governor’s promises of eager Loyalists and Native American support, the British turned their eye to the South in 1779. The Southern Strategy was meant to capture the prosperous southern colonies and quickly end a war that had already gone far too long.

Begin your exploration of Charleston at the recently renovated Visitor Center inside the historic 1850 South Carolina Railroad Depot. Get information on lodging, dining, and transportation throughout the city. Learn about the significant Revolutionary War sites to visit.

Where to Park

The Visitor Center Parking Garage has the most available spaces. The first level of the parking garage features clearance for RVs.

Where to Stay in Charleston

Spend a night wrapped in luxury and history at the John Rutledge House Inn, the only home of a signer of the United States Constitution that allows overnight guests. Enjoy the complimentary cooked breakfast and evening sherry on the private rear patio.

HarborView Inn is within walking distance of the French Quarter restaurants and City Market. Enjoy the comfortable guest rooms and take advantage of the breathtaking views from the rooftop terrace. Book with or

Spend a night or two at the Francis Marion Hotel and experience the pampering in a hotel named after the Revolutionary War hero. Get dinner at The Swamp Fox Restaurant and enjoy the full-service spa. Book with or


Dining on Upper King Street

The locals define Upper King Street as everything north of Calhoun Street and Marion Square along King Street. It’s an area teeming with local restaurants, bars, and breweries perfect for lunch and dinner. It’s just a few minutes from the visitor center and a great place to get your first meal in Charleston.

Charleston Beer Works has been an Upper King Street staple for over twenty years. The sports bar features elevated pub grub like wings, burgers, steaks, and fried chicken. Local beers on tap might lead you to discover a new local favorite.

Benny Ravelo’s opened in 2017. The hole-in-the-wall pizzeria is part of a countrywide chain known for its 28-inch pizzas baked from homemade dough and fresh ingredients. But don’t worry – you don’t have to order the 8-pound pizza. You can order just a slice at a time.


King Street Dispensary labels itself as a “sophisticated gastropub and bourbon bar.” And they’re not wrong. You’ll find wings, burgers, and wraps on their menu. Get the Dispensary Burger – bacon-crusted double patty, American cheese, caramelized onions, and house pickles.

Prohibition is a casual upscale restaurant with an impressive menu. A local favorite is the Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Dip made with local goat’s milk feta and sorghum syrup. Save room for one of their homemade desserts and browse the whiskey menu with over 200 selections.

Return to Upper King Street for breakfast at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit in the morning. Carrie Morey began making homemade biscuits in 2005 in her home kitchen. The popularity of her buttery biscuits led to the opening of two locations in Charleston on King Street and the City Market. Order one of the buttermilk biscuit sandwiches, and be sure to grab a fork for the melt-in-your-mouth meal.

Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer is a wonderful place to relax with specialty coffee in the morning or a craft beer in the evening. It’s the perfect pairing with the biscuit sandwich, and only about five minutes apart.

Where to Park

Streetside parallel parking is limited. The best parking place is the Visitor Center Parking Garage, one block from King Street.


No. 3

The Charleston Museum

Opened in 1773 by the Charleston Library Society, The Charleston Museum is the oldest in America. Since opening to the public in 1824, the museum has amassed an astounding 2.4 million objects from around the world.

Explore Charleston’s history in the chronological museum, starting with the colonial age. Learn about the indigo and rice plantations that brought the colony the prosperity the British sought to control. Take your time at the Revolutionary War exhibits, where you’ll find a miniature depiction of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

Where to Park

The best place to park is the Visitor Center Parking Garage, one block from the museum.


No. 4

The Horn Work in Marion Square

At the time of the Revolutionary War, Calhoun Street was the city’s northern boundary. After the British unexpectedly captured Savannah in 1778, the city’s leaders began preparing for a land invasion. A tabby wall was built across the neck of the peninsula with a gate on the “Broad Path,” or King Street as it is today.

On May 12, 1780, General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered to General Sir Henry Clinton. The surrender occurred at the city’s gate. With over 5,500 Patriots captured, it was the largest defeat of the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

The wall was dismantled over the next hundred years as the city grew beyond the Calhoun Street boundary. In 1883, realizing the significance of the wall, a small portion was preserved in Marion Square. The Horn Work is surrounded by a small iron fence with a single bronze plaque explaining its place in history.

The Horn Work is in the western corner of Marion Square near King Street and Tobacco Street, where the surrender took place in 1780.

Where to Park

The Marion Square Parking Garage across the street is the best place to park.

Did You Know?

Marion Square, named after Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, would play another significant role in history. In 1861, the state militia mustered on the parade ground before crossing the Cooper River and capturing Castle Pinckney. It was the first federal property seized by South Carolina before the Civil War.


Dining in the French Quarter

The area of Charleston bounded by the Cooper River, Market Street, King Street, and Broad Street is called the French Quarter. When the settlement was moved to the peninsula in 1680, it was surrounded by a wall – it was the largest walled city in British North America. The French Quarter was contained within the Walled City.

The Griffon is consistently ranked as one of Charleston’s best bars. The rustic dive features walls, countertops, and posts covered in dollar bills – it’s a local tradition to sign the currency and staple it to the wall. The menu includes burgers and salads, but you should order their Fish and Chips as a nod to the British.

Magnolias is an upscale southern restaurant that opened in 1990. Their homemade pimento cheese is the best in the city and is available on the appetizer menu. You’ll also find menu items like Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Lowcountry Bouillabaisse.

Poogan’s Smokehouse opened in 2015, almost forty years after Poogan’s Porch. You know the food will be good whenever you see the word “pitmaster” at a barbecue restaurant. Meats are smoked, and savory sauces are made daily. The menu includes everything from pulled pork to briskets, but the Skillet Mac & Cheese appetizer is one of the best items to order.

Bill Hall worked all over the country, from Hilton Head Island to Napa Valley, as a hotel operator. When Bill and Jeanne’s daughter decided to attend the College of Charleston, they established roots in the city. After opening Halls Chophouse, they opened Slightly North of Broad. The casual upscale bistro has some of the best shrimp and grits in the city.

Brian Solari uses secret family recipes for the amazing pastries at Carmella’s Café and Dessert Bar. The display cases contain cannolis, tiramisu, shortcakes, and cookies. It’s the perfect place to end your day exploring the sites in Charleston.

Where to Park

The best parking places are two parking garages at opposite ends of the French Quarter. The Concord/Cumberland Parking Garage is closest to the restaurants. You might also consider the East Bay/Prioleau Parking Garage on East Bay Street.


No. 5

The Powder Magazine

Built in 1713, The Powder Magazine is the oldest secular public building in South Carolina. Gunpowder was stored in the building until 1746, when new magazines further from the city’s center were built. But the magazine returned to use during the Revolutionary War.

In 1902, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America purchased the building and opened it as a museum.

A guided tour of the 27-square-foot building takes about half an hour. The talented docents explain the colonial history of Charleston, how gunpower was safely stored within the building’s 36-inch-thick brick walls, and briefly touches on the Revolutionary War.

Where to Park

The best place to park is across the street at the Cumberland Street Parking Garage.


Point of Interest

Circular Congregational Church

After the Great Fire of 1861 and the Great Earthquake of 1886 destroyed the previous church, a new one was built from 1890 to 1892. The Victorian Romanesque building is unique in Charleston, with a curved design and gorgeous details. Although the building is relatively young, the churchyard behind the building dates to 1691 – one of the oldest in the city.

Several prominent Patriots are buried in the churchyard.

David Ramsay was a physician and historian – an interesting combination. While exiled to St. Augustine after the Fall of Charleston, Ramsay began writing The History of the Revolution in South Carolina. The battlefield doctor died in 1815.

John Mathews was a politician deeply connected to the independence movement. He served in the First and Second Provincial Congresses and as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He served as South Carolina’s governor from 1782-1783.

Richard Hutson was one of South Carolina’s signers of the Articles of Confederation in 1778. He later served as a delegate to the Continental Congress.

Where to Park

The best place to park is the Cumberland Street Parking Garage. It’s about a five-minute walk from there to the church.


Point of Interest

St. Phillip’s Church

When the settlement moved to the peninsula in 1680, a congregation was founded with a church at the present location of St. Michael’s. When the congregation outgrew the building in 1720, they moved into a new building at this location, completed in 1723.

When the congregation once again outgrew the building, the membership was divided, and a second church was built on the original site.

The large cemetery across the street from the towering church is one of the most fascinating in the city because of the interred. The gate is typically open during daylight hours, and visitors are free to explore with respect.


Christopher Gadsden was a shipping merchant who became a firebrand for independence after Parliament’s taxes. He served in the First Continental Congress and was among the first to vocally support independence. After the Fall of Charleston in 1780, Gadsden was exiled to St. Augustine and was the only Charlestonian held in solitary confinement in Fort St. Mark.

Isaac Motte is an example of a Colonial American with a British education and service in the Colonial legislature who quickly switched sides. Motte took command of the Second South Carolina Regiment during the Revolutionary War and served in the Continental Congress.

Charles Pinckney served as a politician in the Continental Congress and was a military leader in the local militia during the Revolutionary War. He was captured at the Fall of Charleston and exiled to St. Augustine until the war’s end. Pinckney created one of the early drafts of the United States Constitution, a document he later signed as a delegate from South Carolina.

Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence at age 26. He served in the First and Second Continental Congresses and then in the local militia in Charleston. Rutledge was captured at the Fall of Charleston and exiled to St. Augustine.

Where to Park

The best place to park is the Cumberland Street Parking Garage. It’s about a five-minute walk from there to the cemetery.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

Point of Interest

Washington Square

City officials declared the public square to be named Washington Square after General George Washington during the centennial celebration of Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown. Since then, several monuments and memorials about the Revolutionary War have been installed in the square.

A bronze plaque on the brick wall surrounding part of the square is dedicated to Francis Salvador, the first Jewish casualty of the Revolutionary War. He died during the Cherokee War of 1776 when his unit was ambushed near the Cherokee town of Seneca.

A statue dedicated to Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson draws attention to President Andrew Jackson’s mother. Shortly after Andrew and his older brother, Robert, were freed from British captivity in Camden, Elizabeth traveled to Charleston to tend to the prisoners of war held on barges. She contracted a deadly illness during work and was unceremoniously buried in an unmarked grave outside the city.

In 1999, the Statue of George Washington was unveiled. Designed by sculptor John N. Michel, the statue depicts Washington with a walking cane as he appeared during his 1791 visit to Charleston. The bronze plaque on the brick base details the president’s life during the Revolutionary War and his visit to Charleston during his Southern Tour.

Where to Park

The East Bay/Prioleau Garage is a three-block walk on Broad Street to Washington Square.

Pew No. 43 where President George Washington sat during worship at Saint Michael’s Church in 1791.

Point of Interest

Saint Michael’s Church

When the settlement moved to the peninsula in 1680, a congregation formed and built a church at this significant intersection within the Walled City. The congregation outgrew the church in 1720 and moved to St. Phillip’s for a few decades. When the congregation outgrew the church again, half of the members returned to this site and built Saint Michael’s Church in 1761.


The 186-foot-tall steeple features a four-sided clock installed in 1764. The church bells and clock were imported from England. When the British evacuated Charleston at the end of the Revolutionary War, they took the bells as a prize. A land merchant later purchased the bells in London and returned them to the church.

George Washington worshipped at the church during his visit in 1791, sitting in Pew No. 43.

The small churchyard is the final resting place for several Revolutionary War patriots. Among them is Pierce Butler, Mordecai Gist, Francis Kinloch, and Arnoldus Vanderhorst.

John Rutledge is one of the most significant burials. Rutledge, the older brother of Edward Rutledge, served in the First and Second Continental Congresses. He escaped the Fall of Charleston in 1780, escaping to North Carolina to live as the state’s governor in exile.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was a signer of the United States Constitution. During the Revolutionary War, he served as a brigadier general at pivotal battles in Brandywine and Germantown. He returned to Charleston, was captured when the British took the city and held prisoner until the war’s end.

Where to Park

The East Bay/Prioleau Garage is a three-block walk on Broad Street to the churchyard.


No. 6

Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

Charleston’s newest customs house was built from 1767 to 1771, opening as independence fervor swept through the city. In 1776, a large crowd assembled outside the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon to listen to the South Carolina Constitution read to the public for the first time.

When the British captured Charleston in 1780, the customs house was a headquarters and provost dungeon or jail. Days after the city’s capture, the paroles of dozens of influential Patriots were revoked. They were arrested and held in the Old Exchange until exiled to St. Augustine. However, Colonel Isaac Hayne was held captive in a room on the top floor of the building and later executed as an example.

Take a guided tour of the provost dungeon to learn the story of hidden gunpowder and prisoners of war. See a portion of the Half-Moon Battery, part of the original fortification in the Walled City. Then, take a self-guided tour through the remainder of the Old Exchange.

Where to Park

The East Bay/Prioleau Garage is one block from the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon.


No. 7

Heyward-Washington House

In 1772, Thomas Heyward, one of South Carolina’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, built a Georgian-style double house in the South of Broad neighborhood. When George Washington visited Charleston in 1791, residents clamored for a chance to host the president. Heyward offered his vacant townhouse.

The Charleston Museum bought the house in 1929. The museum worked with the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings – today called the Preservation Society of Charleston – to restore the house. When the Heyward-Washington House opened to the public, it was the city’s first house museum.

Take a one-hour guided tour to learn about the house’s architecture, the owner’s history, and Washington’s visit to Charleston. Take a self-guided stroll through the formal gardens behind the house and visit the only 1700s-era kitchen dependencies open to the public in the city.

Where to Park

Two parallel parking spaces in front of the house on Church Street offer a chance to find convenient parking. However, if the spaces are taken, you’ll need to use the East Bay/Prioleau Parking Garage, about five blocks away.

The Defenders of Fort Moultrie monument surrounded by towering trees in White Point Gardens.

Point of Interest

White Point Gardens

When Charleston was moved to the peninsula in 1680, the tip was called Oyster Point after the collection of shells. When the city hired a landscape architect to build a public park on the point in the early 1800s, it was named White Point Gardens after the brilliant white oyster shells.

The Defenders of Fort Moultrie was the first Revolutionary War monument erected in the park. The towering monument installed in 1876 is dedicated to the men who fought at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in 1776.

In 2007, the city unveiled another statue by sculptor John N. Michel. The William Moultrie Statue honors the commanding officer during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in 1776.

Where to Park

Parallel parking spaces around White Point Gardens are downtown Charleston’s only free public parking. However, many of the spaces have a two-hour limit.



Mount Pleasant, SC

Mount Pleasant didn’t develop like many other towns – there is no downtown or Main Street. However, there is Shem Creek. Before the Revolutionary War, Andrew Hibben ran a ferry between Charleston and Haddrell’s Point, a stretch of land between Shem Creek and the marshes behind Sullivan’s Island.

The half-mile Shem Creek Boardwalk extends from a gravel parking lot to a covered shelter overlooking the saltwater marsh. It’s a popular place for scenic walks, kayaking, and fishing.

It’s also a popular place for lunch and dinner.

Water’s Edge serves seafood with outdoor seating overlooking the water. Vickery’s Bar & Grill opened in 1999 and features only indoor seating, but you’ll still have a great view through the large picture windows.

Tavern & Table is a casual upscale restaurant on the waterfront with a chef-driven menu featuring local ingredients – this is where you go for savory food. But if you want the best view, Red’s Ice House features a second-story deck overlooking Shem Creek. Saltwater Cowboys, the newest addition to the eateries, has an unobstructed view from their outdoor seating.


Where to Stay

Spend a night or two with a waterfront room at the Shem Creek Inn. Each room features a private balcony with outdoor furniture to enjoy the spectacular view. Book with or

Comfort Inn & Suites is a budget-friendly option near the Ravenel Bridge. Go for a dip in the outdoor swimming pool and enjoy quick access to the local sites. Book with or

Hotel Indigo is an excellent place to spend a few nights exploring the area. Get something to drink at the poolside bar and then retire to the comfortable guest rooms. Book with or

Sleep Inn is another budget-friendly option with an outdoor swimming pool and comfortable guest rooms. The hotel features a quieter night beyond the hustle and bustle of the main highways. Book with or



Sullivan’s Island, SC

In the late 1600s, Captain Florence O’Sullivan manned a lookout on the barrier island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. In the 1700s, the island was a quarantine station for ships arriving from Africa. But in 1776, the island took on a much different role – coastal defense.

Get something to eat at Home Team BBQ, a local favorite that started in a renovated gas station in Charleston in 2006. Meats are slow-cooked daily and served on metal trays covered in parchment paper. The BBQ Nachos feature pulled pork, three homemade salsas, sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and jalapenos – the appetizer is a meal.

Poe’s Tavern is named after the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie from 1827 to 1828 using an alias. Hand-cut fries are topped with bacon and cheese for a scrumptious appetizer.

The Obstinate Daughter is a beachy restaurant serving a seasonal menu of wood-fired pizzas and homemade desserts. Be prepared to spend a while at this gorgeous restaurant.


No. 8

Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie National Historical Park

In January 1776, the South Carolina Council of Safety – the defacto government at the start of the Revolutionary War – ordered Colonel William Moultrie to build a defensive battery on Sullivan’s Island. However, slow work and lack of urgency resulted in an incomplete fort when the British arrived six months later.

On June 28, Commodore Sir Peter Parked opened fire from his fleet of 9 British man-of-wars with almost 3,000 guns. But the spongy palmetto logs used to build the fort had an unexpected bonus – the shells either bounced off the logs or sank into the wall. 12 hours later, the fort remained, and the British embarrassingly retreated from South Carolina.

The hastily built fort was abandoned after the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. In 1793, Congress authorized the First System of Forts, and five years later, the first brick-and-mortar fort was completed on the island. It was named Fort Moultrie in honor of William Moultrie. The fort was expanded and modernized until finally decommissioned in 1947 and turned over to the National Park Service.

Start your visit at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park at William Moultrie’s gravesite. Initially buried in a family cemetery, his body was reinterred in a small plot beside the parking lot in 1978.

Learn more about Charleston’s first Revolutionary War battle in the park’s museum. Then, use the staircase to the roof of the building for a grand view of the fort. Finally, cross the street and begin a self-guided tour of the fort’s magazines, corridors, and overlooks.


No. 9

Thomson Park

While Commodore Sir Peter Parker blasted away at Fort Sullivan, a contingent of soldiers under the command of Generals Sir Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis attempted to cross Breach Inlet and surprise Moultrie with a ground attack.

Colonel William Thomson, with nearly 800 men entrenched on the island across from the inlet. Facing 3,000 British in makeshift flatboats, Thomson repelled their invasion and prevented any of them from crossing the turbulent inlet.

A small public park features a recreation of the simple fortifications Thomson built. An interpretive sign explains the site’s significance and how it was integral to preventing the British from capturing Charleston at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.


No. 10

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

In 1754, Charles Pinckney bought 700 acres and built a plantation in the Christ Church Parish – the area that would later be called Mount Pleasant. A few years later, Charles Pinckney, of Revolutionary War repute, was born.

The elder Colonel Charles Pinckney served as president of the South Carolina Provincial Congress and as a commander during the Revolutionary War. Pinckney pledged loyalty to the crown when he was captured at the Fall of Charleston and was paroled to his plantation for the remainder of the war.

His son, however, refused to pledge loyalty. After a brief parole, the younger Pinckney was arrested and exiled to St. Augustine. He was exchanged in 1781 but banned from returning to Charleston until the war’s end. After his father’s death, Pinckney inherited the family plantation.

Urban development throughout the 1900s chipped away at the plantation until only 28 acres remained. In 1988, the National Park Service bought the land to preserve the site. The original plantation is gone, but the recreated 1828 farmhouse sits on the original foundation.

At Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, explore the free museum to learn about the “Forgotten Founder” of the United States Constitution. Learn about Pinckney’s Revolutionary War exploits and the history of the plantation. Some exhibits explain the Constitution’s various clauses that Pinckney drafted.

2 Responses

  1. Hello Jason,
    I am researching the battles in SC for a report to be given at my
    DAR (Daughters of the Revolution) chapter and have fallen in love
    with your trip notes! I will be sharing it with my fellow daughters who
    love travel and visiting Revolutionary War historical sites and graves
    of our patriots. It will also be among my long list of things to do soon,
    I hope! Loved it!
    Andrea Stine

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! Writing travel guides about the Revolutionary War is a long term project of mine. I look forward to sharing much more information over the next few years.

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