Backcountry Battles of the American Revolution in Ninety Six

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July 11, 2009

General Info: More battles & skirmishes took place in South Carolina than any other colony during the American Revolutionary War. Located in the state’s backcountry, Ninety Six National Historic Site includes two battle sites from the period, in addition to original and reconstructed buildings. You can see the original earthen walls of Star Fort, which was built by Loyalists soldiers and slaves from 1780-81. The Stockade Fort has been reconstructed, as have the trenches from the unsuccessful 1781 siege led by patriot commander Nathanael Greene.

ninetysix-is-named-in-1730-because-it-was-thought-to-be-96-miles-to-the-nearest-cherokee-townHours and Fees: The park grounds are open from daylight to dusk. The visitor center and restrooms are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park gates close promptly at 5 p.m., but you can stay until sunset if you park outside the gates. The park is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The historic log cabin is only open on special occasions and on Living History Saturdays. Entrance to the park is free of charge, but donations are accepted to help fund the special events held throughout the year. Contact the park office at (864) 543-4068 for more detailed visitor information. Your leashed pets are welcome as long as they stay out of park buildings.

Activities: Explore the original Colonial town sites of Ninety Six and Cambridge, and walk along historic roads like Cherokee Path and Charleston Road. Two revolutionary battles took place in the area, one in 1775 and the other in 1781. Watch the 10-minute video “Ninety Six: A Frontier Crossroad” in the visitor center before walking the one-mile historic trail around the park grounds. An audiotape walking tour can be rented for $2, and takes about an hour to complete.

star_fort_at-ninety-six-nhs-in-south-carolinaYou can also view historic artifacts found at the site and those typical of the era at the small museum. Take a look at the many oil paintings of historic battle scenes and portraits of important Revolutionary War figures in the visitor center. There is a picnic area with several tables near the visitor parking lot. The rural environment provides plenty of bird watching and wildlife viewing opportunities, especially along the primitive hiking trails.

The Star Fort was built by the British Loyalists to protect the strategic backcountry town from patriot attack. The star shape allowed musket and cannon fire in all directions, but was more difficult to build than a traditional square design. You can view the interpretive markers around the fort, but please do not touch or climb on the delicate fort walls.

volunteer-cannon-crew-2006-ninety-six-national-historic-siteTry to schedule your trip around the Living History Saturdays, when volunteers in period clothing reenact Colonial and Revolutionary War activities. The next scheduled LHS events are July 18 and August 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Weather: Expect hot, dry weather in summer. Drink plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes if you plan to walk along the historic trails. You can take a break from the heat in the auditorium or in the shade on the front deck of the visitor center.

Camping Info: Park your RV at Lake Greenwood State Park in the nearby town of Greenwood. The campground has 125 paved RV campsites with electrical (20/30 amsp) and water hookups. Many sites accommodate RVs up to 40 ft. long. A dump station, restrooms and hot showers are available. Nightly rates range from $17-$20 depending on site and season.

If you’re from South Carolina or have visited Ninety Six National Historic Site in the past, please chime in with your stories and tips! Your insights can help others have a fantastic trip.

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  2. Bobby Woods

    Make a extended weekend out of it by spending a couple of days at “96” then going up the road a little ways (about 2 hours) to Kings Mt. State Park and explore the Battle Ground there. RV camping is available at the state park and the national Battlegrounf Park is only 3 mile away.

    Bobby Woods

  3. Thank you for a very informative article. Very interesting.