Blackstocks Battle   Blackstocks Ford  
Blackstocks.

Other names:

What:
Battle, 20 Nov 1780, BG Sumter vs. Lt.Col. Tarleton

Where:
34.679405 -81.811314 Blackstocks monument.
34.6815203 -81.8039900 GNIS listing for Blackstocks Ford (believed not to be 1780 location).
34.68305 -81.81139 Blackstocks Ford per Mike Burgess, Ducker map (possibly the 1780 location)
34.68139, -81.8170 Blackstocks Ford per 1820 survey for Mills (JAR) apparently supported by Morris 1870 map, (currently believed to be near 1780 location)
34.68149 -81.81632 Blackstocks Ford per 1820 survey for Mills (JCP), (currently believed to be near 1780 location and closest to Mills map)
34.67049 -81.79952 Cowdens Creek crossing. (MB)

Maps: [map notes]

  • 34.679405,-81.811314 (NAD83/WGS84), Blackstocks monument
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5 (of monument)

  • 34.6815203 -81.8039900 GNIS listing for Blackstocks Ford (believed not to be 1780 location).
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 1 (of 1780 location), 5 (of GNIS location of unknown date)

  • 34.68305 -81.81139 Blackstocks Ford per Mike Burgess, Ducker 1873 map (possibly the 1780 location)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 3 (of 1780 location), 5 (for unknown date)

  • 34.68139, -81.8170 Blackstocks Ford per 1820 survey for Mills (JAR) apparently supported by Morris 1870 map, (currently believed to be near 1780 location)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 4 (of 1780 location)

  • 34.68149 -81.81632 Blackstocks Ford per 1820 survey for Mills (JCP), (currently believed to be near 1780 location and closest to Mills map)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 4 (of 1780 location)

  • 34.67049 -81.79944 Cowdens Creek crossing. (MB)
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5

  • Note: When using the Acme Maps following, if the map background loads partially, click "reload/refresh" and the full bg will appear.

  • Acme Acme map showing (L-to-R): Blackstocks Ford (JAR,Mills), Blackstocks (JCP,Mills),Blackstocks monument (on hill), Blackstocks Ford (MB,Ducker), Blackstocks Ford (GNIS), Cowdens Cr. crossing (MB). In DOQ view, an old road leading to deep bend in the river can be clearly seen, especially when zoomed in. There is similar but more faint line (of unknown cause) leading from the monument area to the ford site found by Mike Burgess and his father.

  • Acme Acme map, showing (in the river, L-to-R), JR location, JCP location. [Zoom in max] All the marks south of the river trace the outline of an old road of unknown age. The southernmost mark is (or was) a cattle gate near "Monument Road". If you drag the map to follow the river upstream (best in hybrid or satellite view), it appears that the road follows the left side of the horseshoe bend in the river and then turns westward, then toward the southwest in what appears to be a dirt road of modern usage, eventually finding its way back to modern Blackstock Road. The "Mapnik" view shows the southern 3 marks on this map, but does not show the road out to the monument. The "DOQ" view clearly shows the road of interest. See the following Acme map to see roads N and S of this in larger area.

  • Acme Acme map, same as above, but showing old roads connecting with modern SC-56 (1.7 miles N) and modern Blackstock Road (1.47 miles S). These roads show up in 7 of 8 available Acme backgrounds. The route of these roads compare well with those shown on the 1820 Mills Atlas snippet (below), staying west of Dutchman Creek to the N, and staying E of Hacker Creek to the S.

Sources:

  • BlStks Fd GNIS record for Blackstocks Ford 34.6815203 -81.8039900. This is likely not the location of the ford at the time of the 1780 action. Ironically, it only lists Mills Atlas (see below) in its citation and it is 0.702 miles from (JCP) Mills Atlas location.

  • WHS Blackstock's Plantation Battlefield map, Wisconsin Historical Society, by Union County surveyor H.W. Ducker, 1873, from the Thomas Sumter Papers appears to refute the 1820 Mills Atlas location. It does support the location found by Mike Burgess's father.
    Ducker

    Michael Scoggins, Relentless Fury, Rock Hill SC: 2006, p.56 (contains excellent copy of map and transcription of all text)

    Although Maurice Moore stated in 1870 that there was no one in the area who could draw an accurate map of the Blackstock battlefield, the ever persistent Lyman Draper finally found one such person in the form of Union County surveyor H.W. Ducker. In response to a query from Draper, Ducker drew this map of the battlefield in March 1873.
    This is the only of the three locations for which evidence of old roads leading to it cannot be found on modern topo maps or aerial views. However, Mike Burgess and his father found an old road cut at the site on its north side. This map, like the Mills Atlas map, was done by a professional surveyor. The right edge of this snippet (dots) shows a former course of river, where the river has changed its course due to sedimentation.

    WHS Another related map from the Wisconsin Historical Society collection, drawn by Dr. Maurice Moore, 1870 or earlier, who had walked the battlefield with a veteran of the battle. If you click on the map in the above link to enlarge it, then right-click and save the image, then in your graphics s/w, you can rotate the map 90 degrees to the right so that the river is shown at the top (as is the case with the topo maps), it can be seen that a road crosses the river at the very northwest corner of the battle area (apparently but not necessarily consistent with the Mills Atlas location). Unlike the other two map snippets, this was done by a local history enthusiast, but not by a professional surveyor.
    Moore
    This appears to support the location in 1780 having been that shown in the Mills Atlas, following.

    Michael Scoggins, Relentless Fury, Rock Hill SC: 2006, p.55 (contains excellent copy of map and transcription of all text)

    In a reply dated 18 August 1870, Moore's daughter...stated that her father was too ill to write, but added this post script:
    P.S. Father appends a sketch made by himself from memory of the Blackstocks Battle Ground. The localities were given him when on a visit there some years since by an eye witness to the fight - an old man who had lived within a quarter of a mile of the battle ground all his life, and had seen many persons who had been engaged in the battle on the ground again and again and describing it.
  • Rumsey David Rumsey Map Collection: Atlas of South Carolina (1825)
    Blackstocks Ford.
    The left snippet is from the 1825 Robert Mills Atlas of SC. The Union District map was surveyed in 1820. This site does not look suitable for a ford today due to high banks (nor does that of Grindal Shoals, from the same timeframe, in the same region, for the same reason), but the terrain around streambeds is highly subject to change due to increasing sediment due to more woodlands being removed to allow farming in its watershed here. The map only shows two features relevant to Blackstocks (1) The obvious horseshoe bend of the river, possibly exaggerated in the 1820 surveyed map, and (2) the ford in this bend of the river. Perhaps the most compelling reason to accept the placing of the ford in the very recognizable and enduring bend in the Tyger River (likely due to underlying rock formation), at least as late as 1820, is that the map was done by a surveyor. Ducker, also a surveyor, was well aware of that distinctive bend in the Tyger River, showed it in his map, yet placed the ford unmistakably *not* in the bend of the river in his 1873 map. A road of unknown age leads uphill from river bend on the southern bank. Another road of unknown age, visible on topo maps , leads northward from it on the other bank. Less compelling, this location appears to be consistent with the location of the ford on Dr. Moore's 1870 map (albeit without the horseshoe bend in the river) drawn from information obtained from a participant of the battle who had compared notes with a number of other participants. The horseshoe bend placement of the ford in 1820 by a surveyor is considered to be 34.68139, -81.81703. Location basis.

    The right snippet is based on the same survey and is derived from the SC district maps, apparently before they came under the control of Robert Mills. This is a great map of SC in 1822, far better than the state map provided in the Mills Atlas.

    "Union District, South Carolina. Surveyed by R. Thompson, 1820". BlkstksFd "(Composite of) A Map Of South Carolina, Constructed and Drawn from the District Surveys, ordered by the Legislature: by John Wilson, late Civil & Military Engineer of So: Cara."
    BlkstksFd

  • Jack Parker, author of Parker's Guide to the Revolutionary War in South Carolina Patrick SC 2009, in response to an email, based on map study including viewing bottom conditions with Google Earth:
    ... Then, comparing the 1825 map with the river in Google Earth, allowing for erosion and the river filling in to match the 1825 map river outline, I believe the old ford was probably at 34.68150N 81.81632W. I also took into account the curvature of the 1825 road from the ford to arrive at my location. ...
    JCP location bears 80 208 feet from JR location. It is acknowledged that this location is more compliant with the Mills Atlas location.

  • LIDAR/DOQ comparison
    LIDAR-DOQ
    Mapnik "1" (above, left) shows the roads seen in the Mapnik map (left). D and F (above) are the JR site and the JCP site.
    "3" (above, left shows the MB site (B in DOQ map to the right).
    "2" (above) shows evidence of roads not previously considered in this discussion. Compare this road evidence with the Tanner 1822 map snippet (right), a predecessor of the Mills Atlas maps.

    There are hints of possible additional roads on the LIDAR map (not marked with white dots), e.g., connecting the southern road for "2" with the northern road for "3".

    BlkstksFd

  • One last look at the LIDAR map:
    LIDAR

    I believe that I can see a very faint indication connecting the southern map for "2" with the northern map for "3".

    It is not hard to see the southern access to "4" (GNIS). It shows up (in one or the other of its two versions) in hybrid, terrain, topo (partially), DOQ and NEXRAD views of ACMEMapper (identified as an extension of Battlefield Road). Nothing has been found to date its time of use.
    ACMEMapper map of GNIS location for "Blackstock Ford".

  • The location provided by Mike Burgess 34.68305 -81.81139 (a lifelong student of Blackstocks) was deduced by his father (who taught orienteering in the Army) based on Mills Atlas, other materials and other techniques. They located a road cut leading to it. It is 530 yards downstream from the 1820 Mills Atlas (JCP) site above, and 763 yards upstream from the GNIS location of unknown date. Its location is consistent with Ducker's 1873 map, above.

  • Blackstocks Ford conclusions:
    • It is apparent that Blackstocks Ford has had several locations over a distance of 3/4 mile and over a time-span of a century or slightly longer, for all of which evidence of roads of unknown age has been found, several of which can be seen on topo, DOQ and LIDAR maps.
    • It currently appears that no known surveyed map of the location pre-dates the 1820 survey used in the 1822 Tanner map and in the 1825 Mills Atlas. This survey dates from 50 years earlier than the other 2 maps considered and can be considered to display locations as they existed around 1820.
    • The road identified as "2" in the LIDAR map (not seen in the other maps) introduces evidence of there being a ford just to east of the horseshoe bend with different approach roads.
    • Many landscape features have changed over the 230 years since the Blackstocks Battle. One has not: the distinctive horseshoe bend in the Tyger River as seen in the two surveyed maps and still present in modern maps.
    • Morris's map, provided to Draper in 1870, claims to have been drawn based on a primary source, lifelong resident of the battle area, with information from other battle participants. It appears to support the Mills Atlas location.
    • Jack Parker's location is conceded to be the most consistent with the 1825 Mills map, but it must be noted that the 1822 Tanner map (ostensibly from the same survey) showed the ford at the eastern edge of the horseshoe bend.
    • High levels of sedimentation are evidenced by the river having made a significant change in course prior to 1873, near the GNIS location, as partially seen in the right end of the Ducker map snippet (blue dots).
    • It will likely never be resolved to the satisfaction of the few interested in the matter, nor is there any necessity for doing so. It remains an interesting question, but not a vital one.
    • It is feasable that
      (1) in 1780 the ford was at the location shown in the horseshoe bend of the Tyger and for which there remain remnant roads.
      (2) later river conditions required moving the ford to location "2" for which road evidence can be seen in the LIDAR map
      (3) as ford conditions continued to change due to sedimentation the ford moved to the location found by Mike and his father and shown in Ducker's excellent 1873 map,
      (4) then at some unknown time later moved further downstream to that provided by GNIS possibly based on local lore recalling the last ford used in the area (or possibly in error).

  • Cowdens Creek crossing (MB) where loyalist troops (63rd) under Lt. Money were actively resisted by Col. Twigg. 34.67049 -81.79944.

  • HMdb Battle of Blackstocks historical marker. 2.4 mi. s. of battlefield.

  • Battle of Blackstocks Plantation. MyRevolutionaryWar.com.

  • Patrick O'Kelley

  • Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. Search for blackstock. 155 returns (through 9-2006), many relevant.

  • Palmetto Blackstock Plantation trail brochure. Map of unmanned marked site of Battle of Blackstocks Plantation in Union Co. SC. Go to page 2.

  • Blackstock site trails from SCTrails.org

  • RoyalProvincial From RoyalProvincial.com:
    • Pictures of Blackstocks Plantation (initial). From RoyalProvincial.com
    • Pictures of Blackstock's Plantation #1. From RoyalProvincial.com. Collection #1. Click on image for larger view. The state historical marker has been since repainted. The face of the stone marker has since been ground off, and the inscription has been engraved into the stone.

    • Archive Pictures of Blackstock's Plantation #2. From RoyalProvincial.com. Click on images for larger view.

    • Pictures of Blackstock's Plantation #3. From RoyalProvincial.com. Click on image for larger view. To the left of the road leading into the battle site, there is a cattle gate across a dirt road leading down to the site of the ford in 1820 (and likely at the time of the battle). Just beyond this road a small parking area has been built with a rail fence. A kiosk has been added with a map of the site.

  • Sherman, "Calendar..." . Search for blackstock (numerous returns). To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

  • Sherman, "Calendar..."   online. Search for blackstock. 49 returns, many relevant.
    Blackstocks, (battle) Find 20 November 1780.
    To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

  • RevWar75   listing 11/20/1780 Blackstocks Plantation (Blackstock's Ford, Tyger River). Draw.

Related locations:

12-6-16