If early American history is your beat, a trip to Musgrove Mill State Historic Site outside of Clinton, S.C., will likely give you a fresh, first-hand perspective on the Revolutionary War and the upper South Carolina militia forces that fought in it. The Battle of Musgrove Mill, which took place on August 19, 1780, was one of the early turning points in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution, and stands as an excellent example of the guerrilla conflict and civil war that raged near the Musgrove Mill on the Enoree River. Musgrove Mill’s peaceful setting in the Piedmont woods stands in sharp contrast to the bloody Battle of Musgrove Mill that took place there in 1780. A group of 200 Patriot militiamen rode to strike what they thought was an equal number of Loyalists at Musgrove Mill. Instead, they found themselves badly outnumbered, the Tories having been joined by 300 provincial regulars from the British post at Ninety Six. A retreat was impossible, a frontal assault suicidal. The Patriots were unable to either retreat or make a frontal assault. Instead they took up a position behind logs and brush on a nearby ridge and lured the Loyalists into attacking them. The battle, in which the vastly outnumbered Patriot militia outlasted the Loyalists in a surprising victory, is detailed through interpretive signage in the visitor center and along two and a half miles of nature trails. Natural features of the park include Horseshoe Falls and the Enoree River, along which much of the fighting took place.
The estate of Edward Musgrove was occupied by the British during that summer in 1780. You can walk the 1.5 mile interpretive battlefield trail, or traverse the nature trail that details the ecology of the Enoree River, Cedar Shoals Creek and Horseshoe Falls. Horseshoe Falls has as much history as the rest of Musgrove Mill. This area would become a huge advancement for the Patriots in the Revolutionary War, but for much of the time Edward Musgrove’s property and home were used by the British Royalists as a hospital. According to historic documents, Mary Musgrove helped a Patriot soldier hide in a cave near the waterfalls. The soldier is guessed by some to have been a blacksmith resulting in his nickname, Horseshoe. Some believe the information he gathered while hiding at the waterfalls helped the Patriots plan an ambush on the Loyalists.
Tour the interpretive center and shoulder one of the display muskets. There is a visitor center with displays and exhibits that tell the story of the Musgrove Mill battle. The site offers historic programs, a museum, picnicking, and fishing. The Musgrove Mill battle site was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site is an absolute must-see for American History buffs!
- Visitor Center open Monday-Friday 1pm-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm
- The visitor center is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. No charge for admission.
- Horseshoe Falls Road Area: sunrise to sundown, daily
For more information contact the park at (864) 938-0100, or firstname.lastname@example.org. This site is located off of Interstate 26 in South Carolina. Take Exit 52 near Clinton, SC and follow the signs. It is approximately 4 miles from the interstate.
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
398 State Park Rd
Clinton, SC 29325
For more information about the Old 96 District, in which Musgrove Mill State Historic Site is located, please visit sctravelold96.com/history-heritage/.