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County battlefield site purchased, added to S.C. Liberty Trail

Local historian Durant Ashmore said the Laurens County Revolutionary War 250th Committee has a larger purpose than simply preparing to celebrate the war’s Sestercentennial.

“Our goal is to recover lost history in the county,” Ashmore said. “We’re slowly chipping away at that and really beginning to see what a crucial role the county played in the Revolutionary War.”

Another piece of the puzzle and vital step in preserving a county battlefield came together Thursday (Aug. 3) when the South Carolina Battleground Trust announced the purchase of the Hammond’s Old Store Battlefield about five miles from downtown Clinton.

Ashmore said the recently rediscovered battlefield at the Hammond’s Old Store location is a rare find and a gem for Revolutionary War historians.

“The bid from the Battleground Trust was accepted and they were able to buy 30 acres on an intact, undeveloped, undisturbed battlefield,” he said. “It’s a real feather in the cap for Laurens County, South Carolina and the United States.”

The purchase of the site means the battlefield will be preserved in perpetuity and be included among four Laurens County sites on the South Carolina Liberty Trail, joining Musgrove Mill, Hayes’ Station and Fort Lindley.

The Hammond’s Old Store battlefield, which had become lost to history in a wooded area along what had been the Ninety Six Road, took place 18 days before the pivotal Battle of Cowpens, on Jan. 17, 1781, which helped set the tone in the south for the Colonials en route to the surrender of the British.

The impact of the Hammond’s Old Store battle, which was a rout for the Colonials who killed or wounded 150 loyalists and took 40 prisoners, was felt dramatically at Cowpens and beyond.

“The Battle of Hammond’s (Old) Store expands the narrative of the Liberty Trail by shedding light on the conflicts in the South Carolina back country,” said Douglas Bostick, executive director of the S.C. Battlefield Preservation Trust. “We look forward to adding this location to the growing number of publicly accessible interpreted sites along the trail.”

Bostick added that he expects signage and trails at the Hammond’s Old Store site to be added for visitors.

Ashmore said the four sites on the growing statewide Liberty Trail will be joined by 10 other drivable sites in Laurens County that can be considered off-shoots of the main trail.

“All of the battles in Laurens County played a big part in the eventual outcomes of larger battles in the state and in the war,” Ashmore said.

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