The Siege of Ninety Six was a siege in western South Carolina late in the American Revolutionary War. From May 22 to June 18, 1781, Continental Army Major General Nathanael Greene led 1,000 troops in a siege against the 550 Loyalists in the fortified village of Ninety Six, South Carolina. The 28-day siege centered on an earthen fortification known as Star Fort. Despite having more troops, Greene was unsuccessful in taking the town, and was forced to lift the siege when Lord Rawdon approached from Charleston with British troops.
The area is now protected as Ninety Six National Historic Site and was designated a National Historic Landmark. Many of the surviving Loyalists were later relocated by the Crown and granted land in Nova Scotia, where they named their township Rawdon to commemorate their rescuer.
Throughout the siege, Greene noted that, "our success is very doubtful."
General Greene was ready to end the siege and leave Ninety Six. But instead he did something that not many commanders do– let the soldiers decide the course of action. Subordinates desperately urged for one last effort to capture the fort; Greene agreed and a plan was put in place.
At noon on June 18, with the boom of artillery, the Patriot attack on the Star Fort would begin. The Forlorn Hope consisting of 50 brave men volunteered for the futile charge toward the Star. They emerged armed with muskets, axes, and hooks to tear the Fort's outer defenses. Greene's force faced difficulty from multiple angles as they attempted to breach the fort walls. In addition to the strong defensive works, the Loyalists protected their position with bayonets and spears as well as heavy musket, rifle, and cannon fire. Greene halted the final assault an hour after it began. The losses were devastating to the Patriots– 30 were now dead.
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