Battle of Ninety-Six

One of the last major engagements in the South during the American Revolution, the siege of Ninety-Six was conducted between May 22, 1781 and June 18, 1781.  Ninety-Six acquired its unusual name from the mistaken belief that it was ninety-six miles from the nearest Cherokee Village.  The “British” who garrisoned Ninety-Six were all American Loyalists, 550 experienced troops from New York, New Jersey and South Carolina under Lieutenant Colonel John Cruger.

The Americans were about 1,000 men under Major General Nathaniel Greene, the commander of American forces in the South.

Cruger conducted a brilliant defense, defeating every attempt by Greene to take Ninety-Six by siege.  Greene tried everything he could think of, including a raised snipe platform for his sharpshooters to fire down into Ninety-Six and flaming arrows to burn Ninety-Six to the ground, but Cruger defeated every effort. 

On June 11, Greene learned that a British relief column of 2000 men under Lord Rawdon was on its way to Ninety-Six.  Greene decided to make one last effort to take the fort by a direct assault.  On June 18 the attack was launched and initially made progress, but the attackers were eventually driven off by the Loyalists in fierce hand to hand combat.  With Rawdon’s force now only 30 miles away, Greene retreated to Charlotte, North Carolina.

The British relieved Ninety-Six and then promptly abandoned it.  The war in the South, and indeed the entire War, was decided by Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown later in the year.  The Loyalists had fought valiantly at Ninety-Six, but their skill and valor had no impact on the eventual outcome of the War.


Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Battle of Ninety-Six  
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