American and Scottish Revolutionary War soldiers from Battle of Camden honored together
On August 16, 1780, U.S. and British forces fought each other in the Battle of Camden in South Carolina. It was one of the costliest battles of the Revolutionary War, with 900 Americans and over 300 British killed or wounded. The bitter fight was a British victory in a conflict that led to America's independence. Over 200 years later, soldiers from both nations came together as allies to honor their fallen.
In 2020, researchers discovered remains in a shallow grave on the Camden battlefield. Over the following years, anthropologists, archeologists, historians and forensic analysts worked to uncover more remains and discover their identities. Their work revealed artifacts like buttons and munitions that identified 12 of the remains as American patriots who fell at the Battle of Camden, some of whom were hastily buried just below the surface. Buried deep below them was a Scottish Highlander.
Exhumed along with the 12 American soldiers was a soldier of the British 71st Regiment of Foot, Fraser's Highlanders. This was a Scottish Regiment formed for the Revolutionary War. "The day that we exhumed [the Highlander], someone brought some, a bottle of Scotch, to commemorate the event and give him a toast," Richland County deputy coroner and forensic anthropologist Dr. Madeline Atwell told Forces News.
On April 20, 2023, all 13 soldiers were honored with a multi-day military procession that began at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. A cannon volley saluted them as their Humvee convoy departed across the Midlands, bound for Camden. On April 22, a military ceremony was held on the very battlefield where the 13 men fell. Honor guards from the U.S. Army and South Carolina National Guard carried the remains of the 12 Americans in handcrafted coffins. Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland flew to the U.S. to serve as pallbearers for their countryman. "Taps" was played by a bugler, followed by "Flowers of the Forest" by a bagpiper. The 13 men received a full 21-gun salute and AH-64 Apaches performed a flyover.
In addition to American military and government officials, the service was attended by Rachel Galloway, His Majesty’s British Consul General in Atlanta. "Nowhere is more powerful in illustrating the deep and enduring connection between our servicemen and women who train together, fight together and die together," she said at the ceremony. "From conflict came unity. The wounds of the Battle of Camden of the Revolutionary War have long since healed, and our two nations are trusted friends and allies."
Feature Image: U.S. Army National Guard