Visits to Fort Dobbs in Statesville, NC and Historic Camden in Camden, SC

Two other historic sites that I visited during my Greensboro, NC; Columbia, SC; and Cowpens National Battlefield Road Trip were Fort Dobbs, a French and Indian War era historic site in Statesville, NC and Historic Camden, an American Revolution historic site in Camden, SC. Historic Camden had been on my list of places to visit for a while, but Fort Dobbs was a recent addition; I recently finished a book on the French and Indian War and when I found that North Carolina had a historic site related to it, I knew I had to visit.

Fort Dobbs

Fort Dobbs, a three-story wooden fortification, was built in 1756 near present day Statesville, NC during the French and Indian War to protect the frontier area of North Carolina from attack by the French and their Native American allies. Fort Dobbs never saw attack by the French, but it was attacked by the Cherokee during the Anglo-Cherokee War, which was part of the French and Indian War (which was actually a part of the larger Seven Years War that involved most of the major European powers across multiple continents). The battle at Fort Dobbs took place on 27 February 1760, when the fort was attacked by 60-70 Cherokee warriors; the provincial soldiers at the fort were able to defeat the Cherokee, killing 10-13 of them while only two provincial soldiers were injured; a young boy at the fort was killed, however. The fort and structures at the site of the battle today are reproductions, the originals long having disappeared. Entrance to the park is free, but you can take a guided tour for just $2; the tour is worth it as the Park Ranger is quite knowledgeable and puts Fort Dobbs in context of the larger wars it was built for.

The Exterior of Fort Dobbs and Outbuildings

The Interior of Fort Dobbs

Looking south from Fort Dobbs at the area from which the Cherokees attacked the fort on 27 February 1760

Historic Camden and the Revolutionary War Visitors Center

Historic Camden and the Revolutionary War Visitors Center stand adjacent to where the town of Camden, SC stood prior to and during the American Revolution (the actual site of the town is where the football field next to the historic site is). I would suggest visiting the Revolutionary War Visitors Center first to get background on the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution (in which the Battle of Camden and the town of Camden played a role) before moving on to Historic Camden. I suggest paying a bit extra for the guided tour of Historic Camden; you’ll get a lot of interesting information on the historic structure on site and on the background of the site itself. If you’re interested in the American Revolution Southern Campaign and/or the American Revolution in South Carolina, both should be on your list of places to visit.

First established as Fredericksburg in 1733, Joseph Kershaw played a primary role in turning it into a thriving trade center. Kershaw originally renamed it Pine Tree Hill, but later suggested naming the town Camden after Lord Camden; a member of the House of Lords who supported colonial rights. During the American Revolution, Camden was occupied by the British from June 1780 to May 1781 and was the site of two battles: the Battle of Camden on 16 August 1780 and the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill on 25 April 1781. Many of the structures at Historic Camden are late 1700s/early 1800s houses that were relocated to Historic Camden, although the Kershaw House is a reconstruction due to it being burned during the Civil War.

The Revolutionary War Visitors Center

Historic Camden

The white building is the Cunningham House at Historic Camden; built around 1835, it’s now used as the site’s office and gift shop. The building in the foreground is a replica of an early 19th Century blacksmith’s shed.
The Bonds Conway House at Historic Camden; it was built by Bonds Conway, who is thought to be the first African American to purchase his family’s freedom in Camden. It is believed to have been built around 1812 and was relocated to Historic Camden
The Craven House at Historic Camden; this house is believed to have been built in approximately 1789; note the large siding boards on the front of the house
The McCaa House at Historic Camden; it was originally built around 1800 as a doctor’s office, but Historic Camden uses it to depict a late 18th Century Tavern. Eventually they hope to use it as an on-site restaurant.
The Bradley House at Historic Camden; it’s believed to have been built in the early 1800s. It’s a log structure, but the siding was put on the sides and rear due to deterioration of the original structure.
The Drakeford House at Historic Camden; built around 1812, it was relocated to Historic Camden in 1970.
The Joseph Kershaw House at Historic Camden; this is a reconstruction of the original, which was burned during the Civil War. The original house was built around 1778 by the founder of the town of Camden, Joseph Kershaw. During the British occupation of Camden, it was used by General Charles Lord Cornwallis as his headquarters.
This powder magazine was built in Camden, SC by the town’s founder, Joseph Kershaw in 1777; the foundation is all that remains today.

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