Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Why Did the British Burn Ninety Six?

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° 8.672    W 082° 1.196
  34.14453333    -82.01993333


Why Did the British Burn Ninety Six?
July 1781

The quiet field before you was the site of the once-thriving 1700s town of Ninety Six. In 1781 it had about a dozen homes, a courthouse, and a jail. When Lieutenant Colonel Cruger arrived in 1780, he fortified it against attack. One visitor observed, "Its houses, which were intierly [sic] wood, were comprised within a stockade. The commandant immediately set the garrison, both officers and men, to work to throw up a bank, parapet high, around the stockade, and to strengthen it with abatis."

During the siege of 1781, many Loyalist families from the backcountry, fleeing from Greene's advancing Patriot army, took refuge in the fortified town. Packed into the stockaded village, already filled with Cruger's troops and sick or wounded soldiers carried out from the Star Fort, these refugees lived in constant fear of Patriot gunfire and dwindling food and water supplies.

After the Patriot's defeat, Cruger was ordered to evacuate the town. The British command decided that Ninety Six was too far from Charleston and too deep in hostile territory to be of further value to their cause. So in July 1781, Cruger's men, with Loyalist families in tow, abandoned the village and burned it to the ground, denying Patriots further use of the site.

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