SC History Trail

Fort Watson

The visible remains of the fort the British built on top of a Native-American mound on the banks of the Santee river is situated here. Marion laid siege on Fort Watson in April 1781, when one of his subordinates, Lieutenant Colonel Maham, proposed building a tower under the cover of night from which they fired direct rifle fire into the fort.


Fort Watson
2125 Fort Watson RD, Summerton, SC 29148
Map: View Map and Directions
Web Site:
Phone: 803-478-2217
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Site Description
The Santee Indian Mound is around 1,000 years old and served as a prehistoric ceremonial and subsequent burial for the Santee Indians. This area served as the center for the confederation of agricultural villages all along the Santee River for thousands of years. It is the largest ceremonial center found on the coastal plain.

Perhaps the mound's greatest notoriety comes from its use as a British fort during the American Revolution. This outpost was built by the British and was at least 30 feet high. General Francis Marion ("The Swamp Fox") and Light Horse Harry Lee laid siege to the post April 15-23, 1781, by erecting a tower of logs under the cover of night enabling them to fire into the British stockade. This brought about the surrender of the fort, cutting off the main British supply line to Camden and forcing Lord Rawdon to withdraw from that position.
Access and Admission
Access Description: Daily dawn to dusk. Visitor Center Tu-Sa 8am - 4pm. Visitor Center Closed Su, M & All Federal Holidays
Admission: Free
Tours and Events
Guided Tours: No