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Revolutionary revelations: remains of soldiers from the Battle of Camden to be re-interred with honors

"Battle of Camden - death of De Kalb"
The New York Public Library Digital Collections
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library
"Battle of Camden - death of De Kalb"

In 1780, Camden was the oldest and largest town in the Carolina backcountry. It was strategic to both the British Army and the Patriots in the Revolutionary War. Following a series of strategic errors before and during the Battle of Camden, the Patriot army under command of Major General Horatio Gates was soundly defeated, ushering in changes in military leadership that altered the war’s course. After the battle, Major General Nathanael Greene was promoted to command of the Southern Campaign, and his leadership ultimately led to the evacuation of the British army from Charleston, SC in December 1782.

In November of 2022, the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust announced a significant, historic discovery at the Revolutionary War Camden Battlefield. The Trust, acting on behalf of Historic Camden Foundation, contracted with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, to excavate a number of bodies of Revolutionary War soldiers killed in the August 16, 1780 Battle of Camden.

Walter Edgar talks with Dr. Steve Smith of the SC Institute for Archeology and Anthropology at USC; Bill Stevens, forensic anthropologist with the Richland County Coroner’s Office; and Doug Bostick, CEO of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust about the excavations, the significance of the discoveries, and about plans for reinterment ceremonies April 20-22, 2023, in Camden.

- Originally broadcast 12/16/22 -

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.