South Carolina Military History

Did you know more Revolutionary War battles and conflicts were fought in South Carolina than any other state? Or that the first shots of the Civil War were fired by South Carolinians on Morris Island near Fort Sumter?

From South Carolina Civil War plantations, battlefields and forts to the Military Heritage Trail, war museums and memorials, discover the rich history of South Carolina’s military history.

The Revolutionary War


As one of the original 13 colonies, South Carolina played a crucial role in the struggle for American independence. In fact, the first British Invasion (and hence, the first American defense) occurred at Charleston in 1776. From that time to the end of the war, more than 214 battles and skirmishes were fought throughout the state.

Today, this Revolutionary War history comes to life in South Carolina's intriguing collection of museums, battlefield memorials, historic sites and living history events.

Travel the trail of Colonial life and revolutionary resistance. Learn about famed partisan fighters such as Francis Marions, a.ka. "the Swamp Fox," whose guerilla tactics exhausted British troops. Find out how the Palmetto tree helped save Charleston, and visit the battlefields where armies fought and America's independence was won.

The Civil War


As the site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, and as the first Southern state to secede from the Union, South Carolina was a major player in the Civil War.

Tour South Carolina Civil War plantations where contending armies once took refuge. Take a Civil War walking tour of historic Charleston, the site of the first British invasion. Visit Fort Sumter National Monument, where Confederate troops fired the first shots of the Civil War. And explore the battleground where Confederate and Union troops clashed during Sherman’s march through the state.


Military Heritage Trail


South Carolina’s Military Heritage Trail commemorates the role of the Palmetto State and its citizens in all of the United States’ military conflicts. From the shores of Charleston to the Upcountry mountains, visitors can learn more about the important roles South Carolinians had in many of America's major battles.

The new Military Heritage Trail spans 14 counties, has more than 20 sites and covers history from the founding of the colony of Carolina to WWII. The trail celebrates the bravery of South Carolinians who risked their lives to defend their state and union.

Scroll through the listings below to locate South Carolina Revolutionary and Civil War sites, museums, plantation homes, battlefields and more. Click on the name of an attraction for even more detailed information.

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Magnolia Cemetery
The oldest public cemetery in Charleston, founded 1849 on the banks of the Cooper River, is listed on National Register of Historic Places. It is the final resting place for...
Manning Historic District Walking Tour
Stroll through historic downtown Manning on a self-guided tour. Experience small town hospitality while learning about the rich history of Manning dating back to 1855. Visit Manning, SC. Matchless for...
Middleton Place
An 18th-century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark comprising America’s oldest landscaped Gardens, the Middleton Place House Museum and the Plantation Stableyards. The Gardens reflect the elegant symmetry of 17th...
Mizpah Methodist Church
This church, which dates to 1856, survived burning by Union troops during the Civil War and is currently undergoing a restoration. It\'s located just off US 301 near the Allendale...
Morris Island Lighthouse
Built in 1767 at the southern entrance to Charleston, the original tower was destroyed during the Civil War. The new tower, built in 1876, stands 161 ft. with 201 steps...
Museum and Library of Confederate History
Located in downtown Greenville\'s Pettigru Historic District near the BI-LO Center, the museum houses a collection of Confederate relics and artifacts, both military and personal, as well as a research...
Museum Of York County
Go on an African safari, explore the galaxy or discover your own backyard through the many exhibits at the Museum of York County. Permanent exhibitions include the Carolina Piedmont Hall’s...
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site’s peaceful setting in the Piedmont woods stands in sharp contrast to the bloody struggle waged there on Aug. 19, 1780. A group of 200 Patriot...
Musgrove Mill Museum
The museum includes exhibits that tell the story of the Musgrove Mill battle and how it fit into the big picture of South Carolina\'s pivotal role in the outcome of...
Nazareth Presbyterian Church
Established in 1765 and organized in 1772, this is one of the state’s most historic churches and home to one of the oldest cemeteries in upstate South Carolina. Revolutionary War...

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