Symbol of South Carolina Resistance
"Enchanted with the splendor of victory, he (Thomas Sumter) would wade in torrents of blood to attain it. "
Colonel Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee.
The land on which you now stand, here in the High Hills of Santee, once belonged to General Thomas Sumter. Today, only the graves of Sumter and many of his descendants remain as a vestige of his residence. Most of his exploits during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Sumter contributed greatly to the ultimate defeat of British forces in South Carolina. Sumter distinguished himself most notably in 1780, after the British captured Charleston and then marched into the Carolina backcountry. Many patriots, disheartened by a series of British victories, laid down their weapons- but not Thomas Sumter. Earning the nickname "The Fighting Gamecock," he organized a partisan band of guerilla fighters who so harassed the King's troops that British General Lord Cornwallis considered Sumter his "greatest Plague." Sumter, who preferred the freedom of independent command, sometimes disregarded the orders of his superiors and clashed with fellow officers. Nevertheless, the "Gamecock" kept the spirit of Revolution alive in South Carolina at a critical time.
Having outlived every other Revolutionary War general, he died in 1832, at a remarkable age of 98. In 1907, the South Carolina General Assembly honored Sumter's service and sacrifice by erecting the granite monument that stands in the cemetery before you.
Map Included:South Carolina:
Between July 1780 and July 1781 General
Sumter struggled with British Forces in six
important engagements, keeping the cause
of independence alive after the fall of
[Picture of Sumter at left]
Born on the Virginia frontier in 1734, Sumter's military career spanned the French and Indian War (1756-1763) and the American Revolution. Plagued by financial troubles in Virginia, Sumter came to South Carolina in 1763 in search of new economic opportunity. He opened a store near Nelson's Ferry, on the Santee River, and went on to become one of the most prominent merchants and planters in the backcountry.