On May 22, 1781, Major General Nathanael Greene and 1,000 Patriots attempt an attack on the critical village of Ninety Six in the South Carolina backcountry. After failing to seize the fortified settlement, they began a siege of it, which lasted until their retreat on June 18, making it the longest of the Revolutionary War.
Ninety Six, on the Saluda River, was critical for the defense of the northwest portion of the state and the most strategically important position in South Carolina after Camden. It was manned by 550 Loyalists commanded by British Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger. The Patriots lay siege to the city beginning on May 22, using siege lines—trenches and structures built for the use of the besieging army and its artillery—which were designed by the Continental Army’s noted engineering talent Thaddeus Kosciusko and are considered the best example of their kind in the United States.
When the Patriots learned that British Lieutenant Colonel Francis Rawdon was on his way to reinforce the Loyalists, they began a preemptory assault led by Major General Nathanael Greene on June 18. Unable to breech the defenses at Ninety Six’s Star Fort, the Patriots were forced to retreat, with 185 Patriot casualties to a mere 75 for the Loyalist defenders. Lord Rawdon arrived and General Greene withdrew on June 19.
Although Greene failed to remove the British from Ninety Six, he and Brigadier General Francis Marion of the South Carolina militia were remarkably successful at taking back other British outposts, capturing five others before their attempt at Ninety Six. By the time the time the British left Ninety Six of their own accord, on July 1, 1781, it was the last Loyalist fort in South Carolina.
READ MORE: 5 Patriot Spies of the American Revolution
The town of Ninety Six, so named because it was 96 miles from the nearest Cherokee village, was once a main crossroads of western South Carolina. In the 1700s, twelve roads passed through the town--more than passed through Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1863.
War came quickly to Ninety Six. In November 1775, Whig and Loyalist militia clashed in a three day battle for control of the town that culminated in an uneasy truce. This, the first engagement outside of New England, brought a national character to the burgeoning revolution.
Tensions simmered through the 1770s while the British Army continued to focus on the war in New England. Failing to subdue those colonies, open conflict returned to Ninety Six when the British implemented the Southern Strategy of 1778. A savage civil war broke out in the Carolinas as the British poured troops into the region. Despite bloody battles and constant terror, years passed with neither side gaining the upper hand. In March 1781, Lord Cornwallis moved the main British force into Virginia. American General Nathanael Greene responded by launching a new campaign to retake the Carolinas.
Like heat lighting, Greene captured a number of lightly-held British forts throughout the month of April. British remnants concentrated at Ninety Six and at Charleston. Greene moved on Ninety Six first, expecting to meet determined resistance.
Ninety Six was protected by the formidable Star Fort and the smaller Stockade Fort. Its garrison was made up almost entirely of loyalist colonists. Greene's soldiers laid siege to the town, cutting trenches that zig-zagged towards the British positions.
Greene's siege lasted from May 22-June 18, one of the longest sieges of the Revolution. The loyalists managed to maintain control of the Spring Branch water supply, however, thus averting a major crisis. Meanwhile, Greene divided his force and sent "Light Horse" Harry Lee to capture Augusta, Georgia, which they did, returning on June 8.
Soon after, Greene received word that British troops were marching from Charleston to relieve Ninety Six. With one last chance to make good on his siege, Greene launched an all-out assault on June 18.
The fighting was bloody. American storming parties tore apart loyalist sandbags and captured both forts with supporting fire from snipers in a tower on the American lines. The stubborn redcoats rallied, however, and retook the forts with bayonets and clubbed muskets. Greene broke off the attack and withdrew, ending the siege. The loyalists eventually withdrew as well, burning the town behind them.
The Americans suffered 147 casualties the British 85. Although Greene had failed to take Ninety Six, he had begun his campaign boldly. His continued operations in the Carolinas would prove essential to overall American victory in the war.
Patriot siege of Ninety Six, South Carolina, begins - May 22, 1781 - HISTORY.comTSgt Joe C.
On this day in 1781, Major General Nathanael Greene and 1,000 Patriots attempt an attack on the critical village of Ninety-Six in the South Carolina backcountry. After failing to seize the fortified settlement, they began a siege of it, which lasted until their retreat on June 18, making it the longest of the War for Independence.
Ninety-Six, on the Saluda River, was critical for the defense of the northwest portion of the state and the most strategically important position in South Carolina after Camden. It was manned by 550 Loyalists commanded by British Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger. The Patriots lay siege to the city beginning on May 22, using siege lines–trenches and structures built for the use of the besieging army and its artillery–which were designed by the Continental Army’s noted engineering talent Thaddeus Kosciusko and are considered the best example of their kind in the United States.
When the Patriots learned that British Lieutenant Colonel Francis Rawdon was on his way to reinforce the Loyalists, they began a preemptory assault led by Major General Nathanael Greene on June 18. Unable to breech the defenses at Ninety-Six’s Star Fort, the Patriots were forced to retreat, with 185 Patriot casualties to a mere 75 for the Loyalist defenders. Lord Rawdon arrived and General Greene withdrew on June 19.
Although Greene failed to remove the British from Ninety-Six, he and Brigadier General Francis Marion of the South Carolina militia were remarkably successful at taking back other British outposts, capturing five others before their attempt at Ninety-Six. By the time the time the British left Ninety-Six of their own accord, on July 1, 1781, it was the last Loyalist fort in South Carolina.
The Patriot Force Arrives
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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles &bull Patriots & Patriotism &bull War, US Revolutionary. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1886.
Location. 34° 8.865′ N, 82° 1.134′ W. Marker is in Ninety Six, South Carolina, in Greenwood County. Marker is on South Cambridge Street. Marker is located at near the end of the forest walking trail in Ninety Six National Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ninety Six SC 29666, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trader with Pack Horse (a few steps from this marker) Island Ford Road (a few steps from this marker) The Patriots Lay Siege to the Star Fort (within shouting distance of this marker) The British Fortifications (within shouting distance of this marker) a different marker also named The Patriots Lay Siege to the Star Fort (within shouting distance of this marker) Patriot Soldier (within shouting distance of this marker) The Artillery (within shouting distance of this marker) Environmental Change From Forest to Park
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line) First Parallel (about 300 feet away) Second Parallel (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ninety Six.
More about this marker. The marker shown in Photo 4 is the new version of the marker.
Also see . . .
1. Ninety Six National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service). Here settlers struggled against the harsh backcountry to survive, Cherokee Indians hunted and fought to keep their land, two towns and a trading post were formed and abandoned to the elements, and two Revolutionary War battles that claimed over 100 lives took place here. (Submitted on September 7, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Nathanael Greene. Nathanael Greene (August 7, 1742 – June 19, 1786) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. (Submitted on September 7, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
History of Ninety Six
For a small Southern town, Ninety Six has some serious pedigree. Established in the early 18th century, the town figured prominently in the Anglo-Cherokee War and the southern campaigns of the American Revolutionary War.
Ninety Six National Historic Site recounts the lineage of this colorful hamlet, once a trading post offering cloth, beads, rum and gunpowder to settlers and Indians in the area.
After staving off two Cherokee attacks in the mid 1700s, the backcountry post became a hotbed for a British land boom. At least 100 pioneers settled here and built homes, a courthouse and a brick jail. When the Revolution started, most of the settlers stayed loyal to Great Britain. The village became a Loyalist stronghold and was fortified by the British in 1780.
Along with a stockade around the village, British forces built a star-shaped fort of massive earthen embankments. The Star Fort would become the target of a 28-day siege in 1781 led by Continental Army Gen. Nathaniel Greene and a thousand patriots. His plan was to build a tunnel through which his troops would blow up the garrison. Despite outnumbering the Red Coats almost two to one, the campaign proved unsuccessful.
Embankments of the fort and some 35 feet of the tunnel survived in the forest for more than 200 years. Today, the National Park Service operates a visitor center and small museum containing artifacts found at the site, as well as other period relics.
I recently visited Ninety Six and walked the one-mile interpretive loop trail that takes you to the remains of the Star Fort, the original site of Ninety Six, a reconstruction of the Stockade Fort and a two-story log house built in the late 1700s.
Two wooded trails off the paved pathway lead to Star Fort Pond and the site of the colonial trading post. I'll tell you more about those in an upcoming blog.
At the visitor center you can watch a 20-minute video about the battle and pick up a map of the walking tour. Interpretive signs along the way provide details of Greene's battle strategy and the construction of the British fortification.
You don't have to be a history buff to appreciate the hardships both sides endured in the war over American soil. Under the best of circumstances, life was a challenge.
If you're traveling to the Upstate, make a point to stop at Ninety Six and get a first-hand look at this historic site. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. If you want to pack a lunch, a picnic area is available near the visitor parking.
To learn more about Ninety Six, click here or call the park office at (864) 543-4068.
Augusta was made up of two forts within a half mile of each other, a smaller one at Fort Grierson, and the main defenses, Fort Cornwallis. In Fort Cornwallis, the larger of the two posts, was Col. Thomas Brown with 240 men, including the King’s Carolina Rangers, and an additional 200 blacks, some of whom may have been armed. Fort Grierson was defended by Lieut. Col. James Grierson with two pieces of artillery and about 80 Georgia loyalists. The ground around Augusta was fairly flat and level, so there was no terrain overlooking the town, though there were some houses situated not far outside Cornwallis.
On May 23, the main body of Lee's forces arrived in Augusta. A half-mile west of Fort Grierson was Fort Grierson. It was quickly overrun by the Americans. The fort's garrison attempted to fight their way to Fort Cornwallis but was stopped. Most were captured and 30 men were killed. Fort Grierson was surrounded, with Brown firing his cannon at Lee's troops. Lee had his men build a Maham Tower close to the fort. There was an abandoned house between the tower and the fort. Brown secretly moved some gunpowder into the house
Brown devised a plan to sent a Tory that masqueraded as a "deserter" to the American lines. The deserter's mission was to burn down the tower and get Lee's force to burn down the house to clear their field of vision. Brown had planned on blowing up the house when the Americans surrounded it on their way to attack the fort. Lee sniffed out the Tory plan and jailed the deserter. Lee then had the house destroyed.
On May 31, Brown was given another chance to surrender his forces, which he again declined. In making their approaches to Fort Cornwallis, the Americans dug trenches, and later used Maham towers, the first erected on the night of 30-31 May, on which they mounted a six-pounder, which disabled Brown's own six-pounder (or else two cannon, one of which was a six-pounder.) Brown had tried unsuccessfully, by means of sorties, to sabotage both the trench (when it was being worked on), and the Maham tower. In the case of one of the towers subterfuge, in the way of British soldier masquerading as a deserter from Brown, was tried as well. At one point in the siege, Brown also had set explosives in a nearby house used by Rebel sharpshooters, hoping to catch them there. However, the explosives were detonated at a time when the house was empty. Compared to earlier sieges of the British outposts, Augusta was long and trying, involving much shelling, and sniping between the besiegers and the garrison. Two of Brown’s field pieces were dismounted on June 2nd.
On June 4, Lee's force formed up for a final assault on the fort when Brown agreed to consider a conditional surrender. Brown decided he could no longer hold out against the artillery and riflemen mounted in the towers. Despite what had been vigorous and spirited defense on the part of himself and his provincials, he was force to surrender the fort to Pickens and Lee, the former as ranking American officer, and the latter representing the Continental Army.
On June 5, Fort Cornwallis at Augusta surrendered to Pickens and Lee. Lee returned to join Greene at Ninety-Six. Pickens remained at Augusta removing stores taken there, but by the 17th had likewise joined Greene. After Pickens left, Major, now Lieut. Col., James Jackson took command of the post. The liberation of the Georgia upcountry from British occupation, made possible the revival of more normal state government. Among its first measures was to form militia and state troops to cooperate with the Continentals. Although a Georgia State Legion was subsequently raised under Jackson, the state had no funds to pay them. Instead land, slaves, horses, clothing, provisions, salt, usually confiscated from Tories, were used. Former loyalists were given the opportunity to prove their new American allegiance by serving in the militia or state troops. “But for the need of many to prove their loyalty to the United States, it is doubtful if there would have been any state troops worth mentioning.”
British casualties, based on immediate after siege reports were 52 killed, and 334 captured, i.e. Brown plus, 7 officers, 7 loyalist officers, 162 Provincials, and 130 Tory militia and "about" 200 Blacks. Lossing says the “Americans had sixteen killed and thirty-five wounded. The loss of the British was fifty-two killed and three hundred and thirty-four, including the wounded, were made prisoners of war.” The officers taken were paroled to Savannah, while the rank and file were sent north as prisoners. These latter were escorted to Ninety-Six by Maj. Samuel Hammond's regiment, and the detachment of N.C. Continentals, which were now under the command of Capt. Robert Smith. Smith had replaced Maj. Pinkertham Eaton, after Eaton’s death on the 24th. during the fighting before Fort Grierson. No mention is made of the Creek Indians who were present in April, but who apparently were able to escape homeward some weeks before the surrender.
Tarleton Brown: “We now commanded the siege of Brown of Brown's fort. In taking this fort, we had great difficulty. We raised a platform fifteen or twenty feet high, and mounted a cannon upon it, and from thence fired at them in the fort. In this way we destroyed a good many of them, but finding we were too hard for them in this way, and to screen themselves from the thunder and lightning of our platform, they dug several caves in the sides of the walls of the fort and crawled into them, We then continued the entrenchment, and as we entrenched, we rolled up cowhides and placed them on the embankment for portholes to shoot through. One morning I was standing next to young Stafford, who was about to shoot through one of our portholes, and there came a ball from the fort and killed him dead. Young Stafford was [earlier] with me in General Marion's Army, and he was, indeed, a brave and patriotic fellow, and dying in freedom's cause, his memory should never fade from our recollection. Before Brown would surrender, we entrenched so near his fort that I ran a hoe-halve from the entrenchment into the fort. On finding we were so near upon him, he marched out and surrendered with all his force and goods. Brown had been such a desperate fellow, there existed great anxiety to kill him but as he came under capitulation, we had not chance to do so at this time, but I determined to do so on his way down the river. I took a few brave fellows, and slipped down the river to carry into execution my determination, but he made his escape, through the shades of the night, in a small canoe.”
I was browsing through your site and, being a Marine, stopped to see if the birth of the USMC at Tun Tavern was on your timeline.
JOURNAL OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS
(Philadelphia) Friday, November 10, 1775
Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.
Ordered, That a copy of the above be transmitted to the General.
Thanks, Aaron! I’ll be sure to include it in my next update.
Excellent! I read the whole thing through. This should be taught in the schools. Or at least someone could make an epic movie series showing the start and progression of the rebellion and war. Thank you for your work on this.
Awesome job! My hat is off to you, big-time!
I only gave it a cursory look, but here are two things:
1. There are two “l”s in “miscellaneous.”
2. On 1775/4/18-19, Dr. Samuel Prescott should be added. In fact, he is the only one of the three famous riders (including Paul Revere and William Dawes) who made it all the way to Concord to warn the inhabitants there!
I just checked out the end of 1776! You list the date of 1776/12/26 as when GW and the army crossed the Delaware, then fought the first Battle of Trenton.
The date should begin with Christmas day/12/25–because the Crossing of the Delaware famously took place Christmas night, starting just after dark and continuing until the wee hours of the morning (into the 26th).
Thank you, Marlene! You are correct on both counts. I added Dr. Prescott to the Midnight Ride and modified both entries for the Battle of Trenton to clarify the timing and purpose of the crossing.
Patriot siege of Ninety Six, South Carolina begins - HISTORY
Historical documentation states that this 1780 fort was located on the hill above Ninety-Six Village, was stockaded, had a formal fortification ditch and parapet protecting two blockhouses inside, and would have evidence of Lt. Col. Henry Lee's parallel approach trenches present. The town of Ninety-Six had thirteen structures besides the jail and court house. An embankment is visible on each side of the county access road leading to the Star Fort, which was built by the British.
Loyalist Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger's original town palisade encompassed an area 220 by 400 feet. The north blockhouse was located in the northwestern corner of the palisade, and there was a bastion on the northeast corner. A palisade wall was on the south side. To the north and west, a ditch was located inside the palisade, but on the east side an interior ditch was lacking. This ditch may have been dug outside the palisade. The dirt would then have been thrown up against the stockade to give added protection.
Excavations show that the Star Fort and siegeworks varied in magnitude from specifications in the eighteenth century military manuals, but the basic placement and configurations conform to specifications. The British had secured Ninety-Six as a base of operations in the backcountry in June of 1780, and Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis believed Ninety-Six would be crucial to control of the backcountry once the British Army moved northward out of South Carolina. Lord Cornwallis left Lt. Colonel John Harris Cruger, a Loyalist from New York, in charge of the outpost, with strict orders to strengthen all fortifications. Lt. Col. Cruger's instructions were also to be "vigorous" in punishing rebels and maintaining order in the area. Lt. Col. Cruger used the fortified town of Ninety-Six as his base of operations to send forth numerous raids and skirmishes against the local Patriots.
A series of events, beginning in the Autumn of 1780, put the success of the British Southern Campaign in doubt. In October of 1780, a Patriot Militia force defeated Major Patrick Ferguson and his corps of Provincials and Loyalists at Kings Mountain. Brigadier General Francis Marion was campaigning against British Loyalists in the lowcountry of South Carolina, and Brigadier General Thomas Sumter maneuvered his Patriot forces against Loyalists targets in the South Carolina upcountry. In addition, Major General Nathanael Greene, the new commander of the Continental Army in the South, had split his army to move more widely through the Carolinas.
Lord Cornwallls, fearing for Ninety-Six and overall British control of South Carolina, sent units to remove the Patriot threat. The British lost many of the ensuing encounters including a significant defeat at the battle of Cowpens in January of 1781. Lord Cornwallis and Major General Greene met each other in March of 1781 at Guilford Court House in North Carolina the British won this encounter but lost nearly a third of its force including some of the best officers. Lord Cornwallis then moved his army to Wilmington, North Carolina, and Major General Greene turned his attention back to South Carolina and ultimately to the retaking of Ninety-Six. Major General Greene hoped to loosen the British hold on the backcountry by taking Ninety-Six and forcing the enemy back to Charlestown.
Major General Nathanael Greene set siege to Ninety-Six in May of 1781, but never took the fort. He was forced to lift the siege a month later as British reinforcements advanced toward Ninety-Six. The British abandoned Ninety-Six in July and moved back to the coast, just as the Patriots wanted. This signaled the end of British control of the interior. The Southern Campaign was essentially over. British forces surrendered at Yorktown four months later, effectively ending the war. The last Patriot attack was led by Lt. Samuel Seldon of Virginia with Lt. Isaac Duval of Maryland. Capt. Joseph Pickens, brother of Brigadier General Andrew Pickens was killed in this seige.
Since early April, the British had lost Fort Balfour (Harden), Fort Watson (Marion/Lee), Orangeburgh (Sumter), Friday's Ferry (Hampton), Fort Motte (Marion/Lee), Fort Granby (Lee), Fort Galphin (Lee/Hammond), and had evacuated from Camden - the only three significant British outposts outside of Charlestown were now Augusta (GA), Georgetown, and the fairly large British contingent at Ninety-Six. Small enemy contingents still remained at Dorchester and Moncks Corner, but these were not big enough to concern the Patriots - yet.
When the British gained control of Ninety-Six after the fall of Charlestown in May of 1780, they then surrounded the town with a stockade and rebuilt Fort Williamson. Beyond the town was another redoubt known as the Star Fort. It was two hundred feet in diameter and had ten salients or star points. A ditch and an abatis surrounded the Star Fort, which would become the principle British position during this final siege.
Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger knew that the Star Fort was the key to his defenses here and he prepared quite well for the inevitable siege that was now upon him. Additionally, the town of Ninety-Six was surrounded by tall walls built upon an elevated site that provided a clearing of one mile around the exterior.
Before leaving the outpost to its own devices, Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis dispatched Lt. Henry Haldane of the Royal Engineers to assess the fort and to improve its defenses. Lord Cornwallis also sent a brass 3-pounder along with a wagonload of entrenching tools.
Lt. Haldane constructed an additional fortification west of the town, a hornwork built upon Fort Williamson known as Holme's Fort. A covered runway extended from the jailhouse and down a slope into a ravine, where a small stream flowed - the fort's only water source.
An earth bank, in which an abatis had been constructed, reinforced the exterior of the stockade walls. The abatis would slow down an assaulting force so that cannon and small arms fire could eliminate them. Within the fort several blockhouses had been built. A portable gun platform had been built on which the defenders placed their three brass 3-pounders.
When Col. Francis, Lord Rawdon abandoned Camden, he sent messages to Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger ordering him to evacuate Ninety-Six and to join Lt. Col. Thomas Brown in Savannah. Brigadier General Andrew Pickens's men intercepted these orders and kindly informed Major General Nathanael Greene, who moved his force towards Lt. Col. Cruger - arriving at Ninety-Six on May 21st.
Major General Green had his men to throw up earthwords for his own 3-gun battery before the sun came up on May 22nd. His guns were about 130 yards from the Star Fort. Continental engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko laid out the siege lines in the typical European pattern. Throughout this first day, the Patriot artillery fired round after round into the Star Fort. Major General Greene knew it would be a waste of time to ask for the fort to surrender, so he jumped right into the foray. By not asking was considered an insult according to the customs of the day. To hell with the British and their customs.
By midday, Lt. Col. Cruger "stung with indignity" moved his portable artillery platform on the wall of the redoubt and that night his battery opened fire on the Patriots. This firing was merely a ruse, and was a covering fire for a detachment of 30 Loyalists from DeLancey's Brigade led by Lt. John Roney.
The Provincials sallied out of the fort and killed several Patriots of a nearby trench working party. They filled the trench back up, captured a few slaves carrying loads of entrenching tools, and marched them back into the fort. Lt. Roney died of wounds he received on this brief mission.
Kosciuszko began a new parallel farther back, about 1,200 yards from the fort. Digging was slow and tedious due to the rocky soil and the heat. Construction was periodically impeded at night with more Loyalist sallies out of the fort firing upon the trenching work parties.
On June 3rd, the second parallel was completed and the Patriots' were within 180 yards from the Star Fort. Major General Greene now sent in Col. Otho Williams with a surrender proposal, but Lt. Col. Cruger refused, as expected. Major General Green then attempted the "old fire arrow trick." Lt. Col. Cruger responded by tearing off all roofs from the buildings and exposing those within to the elements each night. It was summer, so most welcomed the additional airflow.
Then, the Patriots attempted to mine underneath the walls of the fort, but the mouth of the mine was discovered. There was an intense fight for it. One casualty was Kosciuszko with a bayonet wound. Another was Capt. Joseph Pickens - Brigadier General Andrew Pickens's brother - who was killed.
Next, Major General Greene ereceted a forty-foot Maham Tower on June 6th. This forced the defenders to put up sandbags with loopholes between them. Major General Greene reported, "Not a Man could shew his Head but he was immediately shot down." Lt. Col. Cruger attempted to destroy the Maham Tower with heated cannon balls, but since the logs were green the tower would not ignite.
On June 8th, Lt. Col. Henry Lee and his Legion joined the seige. Then, Brigadier General Andrew Pickens came forth and marched his prisoners taken at Augusta in front of the defenders of Ninety-Six. This infuriated the Provincials. Lt. Col. Lee recommended that Major General Greene focus his efforts on Fort Holmes, which guarded the enemy's water supply. A second parallel was begun to keep the spring under fire.
Squire William Kennedy of the 2nd Spartan Regiment of Militia and another sharpshooter (Major Thomas Young*-see below) shot two men at the spring from 200 yards, causing all within the Star Fort to look around for where the snipers were located. This significantly slowed down those going after water. The Provincials then sent naked slaves out at night with a single pail to get water for the garrison.
On a dark and cloudy day, Lt. Col. Lee decided to make a second attempt at burning the fort. Sergeant Whaling and ten men from Lee's Legion were supposed to carry bundles of incendiary materials and set the garrison on fire. Sergeant Whaling knew that this was a suicide mission. He dressed himself neatly, told his friends goodbye, and slipped into the enemy's ditch. An alarm was sounded, and the Provincials attacked with a vengeance. Four of Lee's men returned, only one not wounded. Sergeant Whaling was killed - he only had two days until his enlistment expired.
On June 11th, Major General Nathanael Greene learned that a relief column of 2,000 soldiers under Col. Francis, Lord Rawdon were on the way from Charlestown. Many were fresh recruits from Ireland and were not accustomed to the heat of South Carolina in the summertime. Major General Greene immediately dispatched orders to Brigadier General Thomas Sumter and Brigadier General Francis Marion to gather their militias, to get in front of Lord Rawdon, and do everything possible to delay his arrival at Ninety-Six. He also ordered Lt. Col. William Washington and Brigadier General Andrew Pickens to go help Brigadier General Marion in any way they could.
Brigadier General Sumter's partisans did strike Lord Rawdon's column, but he didn't have many men supporting him at that point in time. Worse yet, Brigadier General Marion could not get his men up to speed quickly enough to even find Lord Rawdon, much less to slow him down. Major General Greene then decided to take the fort by force - time was quickly running out for the Patriots.
On June 17th, a heavy artillery barrage was aimed at Fort Holmes to soften it up for the upcoming attack. The fire was so heavy that the Provincials abandoned Fort Holmes - and their only water supply. In a two-pronged attack, one force was commanded by Lt. Col. Richard Campbell with a detachment of VA and MD Continentals going after the Star Fort. The other force was made up of Lt. Col. Henry Lee's Legion Infantry and the NC and DE Continentals led by Major Michael Rudolph going after Fort Holmes.
At noon on June 18th, the Patriots opened up with another intense artillery fire. Major Rudolph led his troops across the moat and after an hour of fighting was able to force his way into Fort Holmes. This he finally held, now waiting for Lt. Col. Richard Campbell's attack on the Star Fort. Lt. Col. Campbell's men raced into the the ditch around the Star Fort armed with long poles with hooks on one end. The men attempted to pull down the sandbags from the parapets and expose the defenders to fire from the Maham Tower. The enemy could not fire down upon the attackers without exposing themselves to the riflemen in the tower. Axe men cut down the abatis, and fascines were thrown into the ditch to fill it in.
When Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger saw the sandbags falling into the ditch, he took immediate action. He sent out two elements of Delancey's Provincials with bayonets affixed to take out the hookmen. There was a brief and bloody encounter in the ditch, with the Patriots getting the worst of it. Lt. Col. Campbell's men were driven back with heavy losses. The final Patriot attack was now a failure.
Major General Greene requested a cease fire to exchange prisoners and bury the dead, but Lt. Col. Cruger refused. He knew that whomever won would be allowed to bury the dead. The next morning, Major General Greene lifted his siege and marched away. He stopped his army about twenty miles away and learned that Lord Rawdon marched into Ninety-Six in the afternoon of June 21st.
Brigadier General Andrew Pickens was sent to take the sick and wounded to Fish Dam Ford. He quickly turned around and led his men back to Long Canes to show the people that Major General Greene's army was not retreating.
Lord Rawdon initially considered chasing Major General Greene, but when he learned that the baggage train was within twenty miles he changed his mind. He replaced his sick and wounded with fresh ones from the garrison at Ninety-Six. He ordered his men to leave all gear that was not needed, including the knapsacks and blankets, and he marched back out of Ninety-Six on June 23rd.
After a forty mile march, Col. Francis, Lord Rawdon caught up with Major General Nathanael Greene's rear guard, consisting of Lt. Col. Henry Lee's Legion and Capt. Robert Kirkwood's Delawares, but the British were no longer able to fight. More than fifty of Lord Rawdon's men had died of heat exhaustion - all wearing heavy woolen uniforms in the 100 degree heat. To make things worse, Major General Greene had dismantled all mills along the way so there would be no provisions for the enemy.
Lord Rawdon then returned once again to Ninety-Six and immediately realized that he could not hold the town much longer. He marched out on June 29th with 800 men and 60 horses. He was expecting to meet up with Lt. Col. Alexander Stewart, but Stewart had received incorrect orders and had returned to Dorchester.
Major General Greene then ordered Lt. Col. Lee, Capt. Kirkland, and 100 Militia under Major Alexander Ross (?) to continue to harass Lord Rawdon's retreat. Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger remained at Ninety-Six to protect the local Loyalists who were gathering all their belongings. On July 8th, Lt. Col. Cruger destroyed the fort and escorted all who wanted to go to Charlestown to remain under British protection.
Ninety-Six was now back in Patriot hands. The only remaining British outposts were Dorchester, Moncks Corner, and a small garrison at Nelson's Ferry on the Santee River. These would not last much longer either. The Patriots wanted the British back in Charlestown where they could be easily watched in one location and not spread out all over their lands. *"As we every day got our parallels nearer the garrison, we could see them very plain when they went out to a brook or spring for water. The Americans had constructed a sort of moving battery, but as the cannon of the fort were brought to bear upon it, they were forced to abandon the use of it. It had not been used for some time, when an idea struck old Squire Kennedy (who was an excellent marksman) that he could pick off a man now and then as they went to the spring. He and I took our rifles and went into the woods to practice at 200 yards. We were arrested and taken before an officer, to whom we gave our excuse and design. He laughed, and told us to practice no more, but to try our luck from the battery if we wanted to, so we took our position, and as a fellow came down to the spring Kennedy fired and he fell. Several ran out and gathered around him and among them I noticed a man raise his head and look round as if he wondered where that shot could have come from. I touched my trigger and he fell, and we made off for fear it might be our time to fall next."
The above comes from the memoirs of Major Thomas Young, and provided by Ken Green (a gggg-nephew) in January of 2011.
Known Patriot Participants
Known British/Loyalist Participants
Major General Nathanael Greene - Commanding Officer
VA Continental Brigade led by Brigadier General Isaac Huger with 421 men in two regiments:
VA 1st Regiment led by Lt. Col. Richard Campbell with Capt.-Lt. Samuel Selden
VA 2nd Regiment led by Col. Samuel Hawes with Capt. John Marks
MD Continental Brigade led by Col. Otho H. Williams with 427 men in two regiments:
MD 1st Regiment led by Col. John E. Howard with the following four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Edward Oldham
- Capt. George Anderson
- Capt. John Sprigg Belt
- Capt. Peter Jacquett - 2nd DE Company
MD 2nd Regiment led by Major Henry Hardman with the following two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Samuel Handy
- Capt. Perry Benson
DE Regiment Detachment led by Capt. Robert Kirkwood with 60 men
Lee's Legion (VA) - Lt. Col. Henry Lee with 150 men in the following known units:
- 1st Mounted Troop - Capt. James Armstrong
- 2nd Mounted Troop - Major Joseph Eggleston
- 3rd Mounted Troop - Major Michael Rudolph
- 4th Dismounted Troop - Capt. Allen McClane
- 5th Dismounted Troop - Capt. Henry Archer
- 6th Dismounted Troop - Lt. Edward Manning
1st NC Regiment of Continentals detachment led by Major Pinketham Eaton with 66 men in the following four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Alexander Brevard
- Capt. Thomas Donoho
- Capt. Joshua Hadley
- Capt. William Lytle
Engineers led by Col. Count Thaddeus Kosciuszko
1st Continental Artillery Regiment of VA, 1st Battalion led by Col. Charles Harrison with 100 men, including Capt. Samuel Finley and Capt. Samuel Otterson and four 6-pounders
VA Militia Detachment led by Capt. Jeremiah Pate with 100 men
SC 3rd Brigade of Militia/State Troops led by Brigadier General Andrew Pickens with 400 men in the following units:
Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia led by Col. Robert Anderson, Lt. Col. William Farr, Lt. Col. James McCall, and Major Andrew Hamilton, Sr., with seventeen (17) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Bouchillon
- Capt. Robert Bryant
- Capt. Francis Carlisle
- Capt. Samuel Earle
- Capt. Armstrong Herd
- Capt. John Irwin
- Capt. David Maxwell
- Capt. Robert Maxwell
- Capt. John McGaw
- Capt. James Pettigrew
- Capt. Joseph Pickens (killed)
- Capt. Samuel Rosamond
- Capt. William Strain
- Capt. John Wallace
- Capt. Hugh Wardlaw
- Capt. John Wilson
- Capt. Thomas Winn
Little River District Regiment of Militia led by Col. Joseph Hayes, Lt. Col. Levi Casey, and Major James Dillard, with eight (8) known companies, led by:
- Capt. James Cunningham
- Capt. Josiah Greer
- Capt. William Mulwee
- Capt. Lewis Saxon
- Capt. James Starke
- Capt. John Verdin
- Capt. Richard Watts
- Capt. Daniel Williams
New Acquistion District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Lt. Col. William Henderson, with five (5) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Diamond
- Capt. Obediah Holloway
- Capt. Benjamin Rainey
- Capt. Thomas Starke
- Capt. James Venable
Turkey Creek Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Edward Lacey, with five (5) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Pendleton Isbell
- Capt. Henry Lisle
- Capt. Andrew Lord
- Capt. John McKinney
- Capt. John Steel
Lower Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia detachment of three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. James Butler, Sr.
- Capt. William Butler
- Capt. Solomon Pope
Hammond's Regiment of Light Dragoons (Militia) detachment led by Lt. Col. Samuel Hammond, with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Moses Liddell
- Capt. James McIlhenny
Lower District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. David Glynn, with one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Robin Pollard
Smith's Independent Company of SC State Troops led by Major William Smith with Capt. Hugh Bratton and unknown number of men
SC 1st Brigade of Militia/State Troops led by "Unknown," with the following units:
Roebuck's Battalion of Spartan Regiment of Militia detachment led by "Unknown," with seven (7) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Barry
- Capt. Peter Brooks
- Capt. Thomas Farrow
- Capt. Samuel Nisbett
- Capt. Thomas Parsons
- Capt. George Taylor
- Capt. Joseph Wofford
2nd Spartan Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Thomas Brandon, Major Benjamin Jolly, and Major Thomas Young, with seven (7) known companies, led by:
- Capt. George Aubrey
- Capt. Andrew Barry
- Capt. Lewis Duvall
- Capt. William Grant
- Capt. John Lindsay
- Capt. Samuel Otterson
- Capt. William Young
SC 1st Regiment of State Dragoons (State Troops) detachment led by Col. Wade Hampton, with three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Alexander
- Capt. Robert Caruthers
- Capt. Joseph Culpeper
1st Spartan Regiment of Militia detachment led by Major Josiah Culbertson, with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Harris
- Capt. John Roebuck
Fairfield Regiment of Militia detachment of two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Amos Davis
- Capt. Edward Martin
Orangeburgh District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Major Peter Oliver with unknown number of men
Hampton's Regiment of Light Dragoons (State Troops) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Robins
SC 2nd Brigade of Militia/State Troops led by "Unknown," with the following units:
Berkeley County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Major Benjamin Smith with unknown number of men
NC Militia led by "Unknown," with the following known units:
Rutherford County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment led by Lt. Col. James Miller and Major Richard Lewis, with three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Adam Hampton
- Capt. John McClain
- Capt. James McDonald
Wilkes County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment led by Lt. Col. James Miller and Major Richard Lewis with four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Alexander Gordon
- Capt. Charles Gordon
- Capt. James Harrison
- Capt. Abram Moore
Lincoln County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. John Culbertson
Burke County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt Joshua Inman
- Capt. David Vance
- Capt. Welch
Rowan County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Daniel Bryson
- Capt. Francis Cunningham
Guilford County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Robert Bell
Granville County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. William Bennett
Caswell County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Russell
Nash County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. William Williams Total Patriot Forces - 1,624
Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger - Commanding Officer
DeLancey's Brigade, 1st Battalion led by Major Joseph Green with 115 men in the following known units:
- Lt. Col. Cruger's Company - Major Joseph Green
- Capt. James Galbreath's Company - Capt. James French with Lt. John Roney
- Capt. Thomas French
- Capt. George Kerr
- Capt. Alexander McDonald
- Capt. Barent Roorback
- Capt. Jacob Smith
NJ Volunteers, 3rd Battalion led by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen with Major Robert Drummand and 200 men in the following known units:
- Lt. Col. Allen's Company - Lt. Edward Stelle
- Capt. John Barbarie
- Capt. Peter Campbell
- Capt. Charles Harrison
- Capt. Thomas Hunloke
- Lt. John Hatton
- Capt. Joseph Lee's Company - Ensign Cornelius Thompson
- Capt. Daniel Cozens's Company - Capt. Thatcher Bartholomew
Artillery - Three 3-pounders
Ninety-Six Brigade of Loyalist Militia led by Brigadier General Robert Cunningham with 200 men in the following known units:
Long Cane Loyalist Militia led by Col. Richard King with 123 men and the following known officers:
- Capt. George Long
- Capt. George Bond
- Capt. John Sloane
- Capt. Andrew Sloane
- Capt. Jesse Campbell
- Capt. John Crawford
- Capt. David Larimer
- Capt. Andrew Reynolds
- Capt. Isaac Stewart
- Capt. George Neal
Spartan District Loyalist Militia led by Major Zacharias Gibbs with 120 men
Stevens Creek Loyalist Militia led by Col. John Cotton with 241 men
Little River District Loyalist Militia led by Major Patrick Cunningham with 224 men
Dutch Fork District Loyalist Militia led by Col. Daniel Clary with 60 men
Fair Forest District Loyalist Militia led by Capt. Shadrack Lantry with 88 men
Relief Column from Charlestown and Moncks Corner:
64th Regiment of Foot led by Major William Brereton with 250 men
7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) led by "Unknown"
Light Infantry & Grenadiers led by Major John Marjoribanks with 281 men in the following units:
3rd Regiment of Foot (The Buffs) - "Unknown"
19th Regiment of Foot - "Unknown"
30th Regiment of Foot - "Unknown"
84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), 2nd Battalion (Young Royal Highlanders) detacment led by "Unknown"
Royal Regiment of Artillery - 5 pieces
Unknown Hessian Regiment with 250 men
Provincials led by Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson and the following known units:
Loyal American Regiment, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Morris Robinson
King's American Regiment, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Thomas Cornwell
DeLancey's Brigade, 3rd Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Gilbert Willett
NJ Volunteers, 1st Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. James Shaw
NJ Volunteers, 2nd Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Norman McLeod
NJ Volunteers, 4th Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Jacob Buskirk
Garrison withdrawn from Camden after Hobkirk's Hill, additional reinforcements:
63rd Regiment of Foot detachment led by Capt. Hayes St. Ledger
NY Volunteers led by Major Henry Sheridan with 40 men
SC Royalists led by Major Thomas Fraser with 150 men
Camden District Loyalist Militia, Jackson Creek Militia led by Col. John Phillips with 400 men in the following known units:
- Capt. Benjamin Perkins - 8 men
- Capt. James Miller - 20 men
- Capt. Adam Thomson - 33 men
- Capt. George Platt - 20 men
- Capt. David Saunders - 22 men
- Capt. Hugh Smith - 34 men Total British/Loyalist Forces - 4,400
Why Did the British Burn Ninety Six?
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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era &bull Forts and Castles &bull Landmarks &bull Notable Events &bull Notable Places &bull Settlements & Settlers &bull War, US Revolutionary. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1781.
Location. 34° 8.672′ N, 82° 1.196′ W. Marker is in Ninety Six, South Carolina, in Greenwood County. Marker can be reached from South Cambridge Street (State Highway 248). Marker is located on the battlefield walking tour, on the grounds of Ninety Six Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ninety Six SC 29666, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gouedy Trail and Charleston Road (within shouting distance of this marker) Woman and Child (within shouting distance of this marker) Law and Order in the Carolina Backcountry (within shouting distance of this marker) Ninety Six (within shouting distance of this marker) The American Revolution Comes to the South (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line) Spring Branch (about 400 feet away) Covered Way (about 500 feet away) The Attack (about 700 feet away) The Forlorn Hope (about 700 feet away) The Star Fort (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ninety Six.
. Here settlers struggled against the harsh backcountry to survive, Cherokee Indians hunted and fought to keep their land, two towns and a trading post were formed and abandoned to the elements, and two Revolutionary War battles that claimed over 100 lives took place here. (Submitted on July 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Ninety Six, South Carolina. Ninety Six is a town in Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States. (Submitted on July 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
3. Nathanael Greene. Nathanael Greene (August 7, 1742 – June 19, 1786) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. (Submitted on July 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
Patriot siege of Ninety Six, South Carolina begins - HISTORY
The Siege of Augusta was a significant battle
of the American Revolution.
Fought for control of Fort Cornwallis, a British
fort in the Georgia city, the battle was a major
victory for the Patriot forces of Lighthorse
Harry Lee and a stunning reverse to the
British and Loyalist forces in the South.
Augusta had been taken by Southern
Loyalists under Lt. Col. Thomas Brown in
1780. When threatened by Patriot forces early
in 1781, he had built a bastioned fort of earth
and logs on the site of the earlier Fort
Augusta . Named after Lord Cornwallis, the
British commander in the South, the fort was
supported by two smaller outposts: Fort
Grierson about one-half mile away and the
stockaded home of Loyalist trader George
Galphin about 12 miles away.
The Siege of Augusta began in a small way
on April 16, 1781. The famed Georgia leader
Elijah Clarke had contracted smallpox and
was sick in camp, so Lt. Col. Micajah
Williamson assumed command of his force
of militiamen. In company with the forces of
Colonels John Baker and LeRoy Hammond,
he arrived outside Augusta on April 16.
Williamson and the militiamen fortified a
position on the outskirts of Augusta and
hovered around the city, taking occasional
shots at the Loyalists holding Fort Cornwallis
and Fort Grierson.
The arrival of the Patriot militia from the back-
country created alarm in Augusta, where their
forces were greatly over-estimated. Col.
Brown sent out a call for help and Loyalist
militia companies from elsewhere began a
march to his relief.
To prevent support from reaching Augusta
from the British post of Ninety Six in South
Carolina, General Andrew Pickens placed
himself between the two points with 400 men.
Colonel Clarke recovered sufficiently from his
smallpox by May that he arrived in Augusta
with 100 additional men and assumed
personal command of the Patriots there. The
siege now began in earnest.
At the same time, General Nathaniel Greene
of the Continental forces was moving to lay
siege on Ninety Six . Hoping to eliminate
Augusta in the meantime, he ordered the
famed Patriot horseman "Lighthorse" Harry
Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) to join forces
with Clarke. Lee drove his men at a rapid
pace, marching 75 miles in just three days.
The combined forces attacked the fortified
home of George Galphin 12 miles from
Augusta on May 21, 1781. After a fight in
intense heat, the British surrendered.
Pushing on into Augusta, the Patriots moved
on Fort Grierson next. As they formed to
encircle the small fort, its garrison panicked
and tried to escape to the safety of the larger
Fort Cornwallis. Eighty Loyalists under Col.
Grierson were captured, refused quarter and
slaughtered. Brown's forces had done the
same to Patriot forces in the past and now
they exacted their revenge.
The slaughter of Grierson's force completed,
Clarke and Lee, now joined by Pickens,
began their attack on Fort Cornwallis.
The Patriots had only one cannon and even
though they far outnumbered the Loyalist
forces holding Fort Cornwallis (300 militia
and 200 African Americans who joined
them), the fort was too strong for them to
carry by direct assault.
Lee suggested that the fort could be taken by
employing a tower similar to the one built by
Patriots during the Battle of Fort Watson in
South Carolina. From the top of the structure,
they would be able to fire down into the fort.
The 30-foot tower was assembled behind a
nearby home. Several times the Loyalists
tried to attack the project, but each time they
were driven back. The tower was finished to
a point from which the Patriot cannon could
fire down into the fort on June 1, 1781.
That night Brown led most of his men out of
Fort Cornwallis in a desperate attempt to
stop the project or break out. They were
driven back into the fort in a fierce night battle.
The Patriot's now began to systematically
destroy the interior of Fort Cornwallis from
above. Its cannon were dismounted and the
barracks and other structures knocked to
pieces. This continued for two more days.
Finally, on the morning of June 4, 1781, the
Patriot forces formed for an attempt to storm
Fort Cornwallis. A surrender demand was
sent in and Brown responded by asking for
an extra day as it was the birthday of King
George III. Pickens, Clarke and Lee agreed
and Brown surrendered the next day. Fearful
of that he would meet Grierson's fate, he
gave up to a detachment of Continental
The capture of Fort Cornwallis placed
Augusta firmly in American control and there
it remained. The fort stood on the grounds of
St. Paul's Church at 605 Reynolds Street and
a marker there commemorates the battle.
The churchyard is open daily.