Fort Ninety-Six (1759-1775, 1780-1781) - A colonial fortification complex first established in 1759 by Governor William Henry Lyttleton near the old town of Ninety-Six in present day Greenwood County, South Carolina. Taken over by British forces and expanded in 1780, abandoned by the British in 1781.
In 1759 South Carolina colonial Governor William Henry Lyttleton built a temporary 90' square stockaded fort at the plantation of a Colonel Savage near the small town called Ninety-Six. This fort came to be known as Fort Middleton and was twice attacked unsuccessfully by hostile Cherokee Indians.
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
As the Revolutionary War expanded in 1775, a new temporary fort was built at the same location. This new defense was larger, 185 yards square, and built with a variety of materials by Patriot Major Andrew Williamson to prevent Loyalist from advancing. The British Loyalist took the town of Ninety-Six and laid siege to Fort Williamson as it became known. The siege was unsuccessful and the Loyalist moved on.
The British returned in 1780 and established a military complex that came to be known as Fort Ninety-Six. This complex included a stockade around the whole town, an earthen Star Fort or Star Redoubt and a Stockade Fort guarding the town spring. Both the Star Fort and the Stockade Fort were connected to the stockaded town with covered ways.
The Star Fort was a 14' tall earthworks structure protecting the approach to the town stockade. The earthworks were in the shape of an eight-sided star surrounded by a ditch. Within the Star Fort was a three cannon artillery battery, a powder magazine and a protective traverse.
The Stockade Fort also known as Fort Holmes (2) was a stockaded structure with four bastions and two blockhouses built to protect the town water supply, a spring and stream running between the town stockade and the Stockade Fort.
Patriot forces under General Nathanael Green attacked and laid siege to this complex starting 22 May 1781 and by 17 Jun 1781 he had advanced a ditch system up to the Star Fort. A final assault on the Star Fort was mounted by the Patriots but they were driven back with heavy losses. General Green abandoned the siege on the 19th of June and withdrew. The British commander realized that he could not hold the fort and he abandoned the complex destroying it as he departed.
Ninety-Six National Historic Site, Greenwood County, South Carolina. Recreations of Revolutionary War fortifications and the remains of the original Star Fort. One mounted display cannon and one original cannon (unmounted) on display at the entrance to the visitor center.
The Star Fort is the original earthworks with the interior traverse and a well displayed. The earthworks itself has shrunk from the original 14' height to about 4 or 5 feet high. The Stockade Fort is partially reconstructed with one building fully built and several others partially framed out. The stockade surrounds it and the bastions are extended from each corner of the stockade. Nothing has been reconstructed on the town site but the jail site has been outlined and the covered ways have been marked. The siege lines in front of the Star Fort are marked and a display cannon indicates where the artillery battery was located.
Visited: 8 May 2013