Historic Markers Across South Carolina

The American Revolution Comes to the South

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: At the Ninety Six National Historic Site on South Cambridge Street (State Highway 248), Ninety Six, SC
County: Greenwood
Coordinates: N 34° 8.671    W 082° 1.257
  34.14451666    -82.02095


You are standing at the site of the first southern land battle of the Revolutionary War. The men fighting here were all Americans. The Loyalists supported British rule; the Patriots wanted independence from the Crown.

The location of Ninety Six at the junction of several major routes between the interior backcountry and the coast made it a strategic post during the American Revolution. The battle here in 1775 was precipitated by Loyalists, who seized a shipment of gunpowder intended as a gift of friendship from the Provincial Congress to the Cherokee Indians. In response to this hostile act, Patriot Major Andrew Williamson mustered 500 troops at Ninety Six and prepared to meet the enemy. His men built a makeshift fort in this field. The simple square structure was made of fence rails, baled hay, and beef hides and enclosed a barn and outbuildings.

On November 19, 1775, Loyalist commanders Captain Patrick Cunningham and Major Joseph Robinson arrived with 2,000 men. Though greatly outnumbered, the Patriots in the fort would not surrender. Several days of fighting followed, leaving several wounded on both sides and one Patriot dead. James Birmingham was the first Patriot killed in the South in the American Revolution. A Loyalist officer, Captain Luper, also died. Days later a truce was arranged.

The fort you see now is not an original structure but a partial reconstruction of the 1781 Stockade Fort.

Erected 2009 by National Park Service


More information:
NPS - Ninety Six National Historic Site
Wikipedia - Ninety Six National Historic Site
The American Revolution in South Carolina - The Seige of Ninety-Six, May 21 - June 19, 1781
Wikipedia - Nathanael Greene
Wikipedia - American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
SCIWAY - American Revolutionary War in SC
Wikipedia - Star fort
Wikipedia - Siege
Wikipedia - Continental Army
Wikipedia - British Army during the American War of Independence
Wikipedia - Ninety Six, South Carolina