A Revolutionary War battlefield, where 1,200 volunteer soldiers lost their lives, is open to visitors year-round.
The Battle of Eutaw Springs began around 9 a.m. on Sept. 8, 1781, just a few miles east of the town of Eutawville.
It raged for nearly four hours between Patriots and British troops.
British Col. Alexander Stewart moved his troops, of about 2,098 men, northwest along the Old River Road from Moncks Corner and set up near the freshwater spring on Eutaw Creek.
That’s where he met his match: 2,300 patriots led by Gen. Nathaniel Greene, the southern commander of the Continental Army.
But how did this particular battle in what is now known as eastern Orangeburg County play such a pivotal role in the bloody war for independence from Great Britain?
History experts say that it was at the Battle of Eutaw Springs that the British strategy became undone.
The battle marked the end of the tactics used by the British to gain control of the interior of South Carolina.
Both armies took heavy losses.
For the British, nearly 700 died and the Patriots lost 500.
The battle site covered about 170 acres and it was a bloody one.
Firsthand accounts describe soldiers waded in puddles of blood on the battlefield while dead men still stood impaled on each others’ bayonets. Mass graves became the burial sites for most of the dead.
Several of the American Revolution's heroes fought in the Battle of Eutaw Springs – William Washington, Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion, Andrew Pickens, "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Wade Hampton.
The battle claimed the life of British Maj. John Marjoribanks.
The United States Congress established the park as a memorial site in June 26, 1936.
Since then, the public has been able to access a portion of the area where the battle took place.
The Eutaw Springs battlefield site became listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 2, 1970.
In 2017, the South Carolina Battlefield Preservation Trust purchased the former Chef’s Choice restaurant -- less than one mile from the site -- with plans to transform the building into an interpretive center to tell the story of the battle.
The area measures just under three acres.
The building has not yet been transformed into an interpretative center, however, there are illustrated signs throughout the Eutaw Springs battlefield site that tell visitors about the battle.