Historic Markers Across South Carolina

The Patriot Force Arrives

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° 8.865    W 082° 1.134
  34.14775    -82.0189


The Patriot Force Arrives
May 21-22, 1781

After a series of disastrous defeats in South Carolina, George Washington, head of the Continental Army, took action. He named General Nathanael Greene to command Patriot forces in the South in December 1780. Greene drove into the backcountry hoping to take key Loyalist strongholds, like Ninety Six.

By May 22, 1781, Greene's troops descended on these grounds from the Island Ford Road in the rainy darkness. Soaked to the skin by a heavy spring rain, they toted heavy artillery, supplies, and tools. The troops consisted of Continental Army soldiers from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, and North Carolina militia. This force of almost 1,000 split and fanned out around the town, converging on it from two directions to seal off access to food, water, and reinforcements.

But Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger, the Loyalist commander garrisoned at Ninety Six, had expected Greene's arrival and prepared well. His defenses were strong. The arriving Patriots would have seen a town fortified with a strong stockade, blockhouses and bastions, as well as earthworks to protect the town's water supply. A large star-shaped fort defended the north side of town near the Island Ford Road.

As Greene's tired men set about establishing a camp near here on May 22, the commander pondered his options. He had inadequate artillery and no promise of reinforcements. On the advice of his chief engineer, he decided to launch a siege against the heart of the Loyalist defense: the Star 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