Having spent last winter and early spring based in Greenville, South Carolina, I took advantage of the opportunity to re-visit all of the state’s National Park Service units, including the sites of three important Revolutionary War battles.
One of my favorite off-the-beaten path parks is Ninety Six National Historic Site. The beautiful site features a one-mile loop trail through pristine woods, past historic Colonial-era roadbeds, and along siege trenches that remain from the loyalist Star Fort.
I also enjoyed the original Ninety Six town site, which reconstructs the 1781 Stockade Fort. The historic Logan Log House, however, is an authentic remnant of the 1700s.
Ninety Six provides an interesting example of siege warfare. The British had constructed a Star Fort and nearby stockade to heavily reinforce their position. When General Nathanael Greene arrived here with his army on May 28, 1781, it was quickly determined that a direct attack on the fort would be doomed to failure.
The only remaining strategy was to attempt to starve out their adversaries. With the assistance of the famed Polish military engineer, Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Continentals began building an extensive series of zigzag and parallel trenches to get in musket range of the fort. Forced into action by British troops coming to intervene, Greene had his men assault the fort on June 18.
Although the stockade was taken by the patriots, they were unsuccessful in breaching the Star Fort’s massive earthen walls. Consequently, Greene withdrew his troops from the area on July 20. However, the aborted siege effort had at least served to weaken the rural stronghold enough the British retreated to a position closer to the coast.
Original Townsite of Ninety Six
Reconstruction of 1781 Stockade Fort
Bob tries out the stocks
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