Ninety Six National Historic Site

11/8/13 Friday at Fair Play, SC (Carolina Landing-TT)

Left home at 10:00 am, arriving at Ninety Six around 11:40 am. Not so organized this time. We noticed they have a sense of humor about town names: Fair Play (I think that’s a cool name), Due West and Ninety Six are a few.

Ninety Six is a current SC city near Ninety Six the Historic Site which includes a city that was named Ninety Six during the Revolution. They’re not sure, but think the name came from English traders who estimated it was located 96 miles from the Cherokee village of Keowee, near today’s Clemson, SC. This was the frontier, pretty lawless until a county seat with courthouse and jail were set up here, so this town was protected by British law by 1772. The only other place of law in South Carolina was Charleston. Ninety Six was also a commercial crossroads, where major roads like Island Ford Road (which went right through the town and on to Charleston) and Whitehall Road intersected.

IMG_3867 IMG_3871 IMG_3883 IMG_3884 IMG_3914

Since the British weren’t doing so well in the north at this point, they decided to conquer the agricultural lands of the south. The first battle in the south was fought November 19th 1775, at Ninety Six. The battles at King’s Mountain in Oct 1780, then at Cowpens in Jan 1781 happened before the 28 day siege of Ninety Six in 1781, turning the tide in the Patriots’ favor. (posted on 10/25/13 in this blog).

Lt Col. John Cruger led the Loyalists: he and his soldiers were all Americans who believed freedom would lie in the safety of the British Crown.

IMG_3880 Lt Col John Cruger

Gen. Nathanael Greene led the Patriots: they were all Americans as well who believed freedom came with independence from the British rule.

IMG_3879 Gen Nathanael Greene

Cruger used his soldiers and slaves to reinforce the town’s stockade and build the Star Fort, one of the best preserved Revolutionary War earthworks in the nation. The ingenious design permitted soldiers to fire from its many angles. Attackers from any direction were immediately caught in the crossfire.

IMG_3888 Star Fort IMG_3947 Star Fort aerial view

Greene had Kosciuszko, as his engineer, direct the siege operations. We “met” Kosciuszko in Mississippi (posted on 4/15/13-spelled Kosciusko there in Mississippi).


He had sappers (trench diggers) dig a system of parallels and approach trenches through the hard, red clay until they were within musket range of the loyalists. During the night they also built a 30-foot tower of logs close to the fort, for cover. Unfortunately Greene learned that 2,000 British troops were marching to Cruger’s aid, so he had to storm the fort before he was trapped between the two forces. He had a group of volunteers, who called themselves the “Forlorn Hope” move through the trenches to the sharp thorny bushes, then attacking the pointed logs with axes. They had long poles with hooks at the end to pull down the sand bags piled beyond those logs. Of those 50 men, 30 died or were wounded. I think it was a miracle they all didn’t die because Cruger sent his men into the ditch that surrounded the fort, soon fighting hand to hand with the Patriots.

So the Patriots didn’t win this one, but this offensive weakened Cruger’s stronghold in the backcountry. The Loyalists abandoned Ninety Six, soon after, (burning the town) and moved nearer to the coast.

As we walked the trail following the patriots path to Star Fort and back to the Visitor Center we saw a sign that showed what that berry is that I’ve seen only in South Carolina so far: Beautyberry (posted on 10/25/13).


On the path to Star Fort:

Gabions-huge baskets filled with earth to fortify the trenches (set at top)

Gabions-huge baskets filled with earth to fortify the trenches (set at top)


Well dug to 25 feet inside Star Fort never found water; water was brought by hand from Spring Branch River

Well dug to 25 feet inside Star Fort never found water; water was brought by hand from Spring Branch River

Spring Branch

Spring Branch

Colonial Ninety Six

Colonial Ninety Six

Island Fork Rd to Charleston, cutting through Ninety Six

Island Fork Rd to Charleston, cutting through Ninety Six


Williamson's Fort where earlier battles were fought

Williamson’s Fort where earlier battles were fought


Someone got into trouble.


Logan’s Log House, found enclosed within a much larger house (additions) was built in the 1700’s of logs and chinking mortar.

IMG_3944 IMG_3936 IMG_3940 IMG_3941

Outside, a pizza oven?


Goodbye Ninety Six and Star Fort.


On the way home we stopped at Anderson’s WalMart for an induction stove top. They didn’t have any. After buying some groceries, we tried the Kohl’s we’d seen just before WalMart. We were in luck, they had the Nuwave brand. I was really wanting to replace ours. Cleaning the propane stove top is a real pain compared to wiping this! As they say, “happy wife, happy life.”


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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