Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Why the Cooper and Ashley Rivers were so important in the American Revolution

When looking at the roads covering the state of South Carolina today, it is hard to imagine a time when there were only a few roads for transportation and travel. These roads were affectedly great by the weather which could turn them impassable given a heavy rain or prolonged rain. Even today in the outer parts of Berkeley and Dorchester Counties heavy rains can still flood cemented roads with ease. Even roads maintained by the crown and colony were only as good as the season you tried to use them. Most roads were not roads as we think of them today, they were merely ways for neighbors to transverse and were maintained as such.

So when we look at the most reliable means for transport and travel year around we must look to river ways such as the Wadboo, Santee, Wando, Edisto, Cooper and Ashely Rivers. Rivers in the Lowcountry were used to cultivate rice fields, transporting materials, and to easily travel from key points in the Lowcoutnry to other key points. Two of the major transportation hubs were Dorchester located on the Ashley River and Moncks Corner located near the Cooper River.

These two towns made commerce and trade easier because they were located near the head of each river and thus allowed barges and boats to be loaded and unloaded with ease. The wharf at Dorchester is still visible at low tide.

Thus during the American Revolution both areas where fortified by first the Colonist and then the British to protect these key spots on their transportation route.

As I begin my first series in many years I will be looking at these two sites and their importance to the defense of Charles Town during the Revolution.

Below is a map created by JD Lewis and can be located on his website at http://www.carolana.com/ which shows how important these two sites were.