Revolutionary Battle Reenactments Bring 18th Century to Life at 96 National Historic Site

By:Page Ivey


This Revolutionary War battle site commemorates the first Southern battle of the American Revolution, which was fought in November 1775 and claimed the life of James Birmingham, the first South Carolinian to die in the war.

The spot got its unusual name from the estimated number of miles remaining for Charleston traders traveling to the Cherokee village of Keowee in the Upstate. Europeans began settling here in the early and mid-1700s, but skirmishes with local Native Americans were frequent.

It was still a frontier town when Gen. Nathanael Greene and 1,000 patriots laid siege to the British-held town. The earthen Star Fort, which was built in 1780-81 by Loyalist soldiers and slaves, had eight walls 14 feet high and is a well-preserved sample of the era’s forts.

Revolutionary War hero Light Horse Harry Lee got his nickname for his daring rides against the British here.

The Living History re-enactments include demonstrations on cooking in a fireplace, period woodworking as well as defending a home with a musket. The events are held on the third Saturday of each month from May to September and include a tour of historic structures on the site, the Logan Log House and the Black Swan Tavern.

But there is plenty to see on any day.

Start at the visitor center with the 20-minute film, "Ninety Six: Crossroads of a Revolution." Several exhibits tell the history of the site, and include artifacts found there as well as examples of weapons from the era. A bookstore operated by Eastern National has more than 100 publications discussing the area, the battle and the Revolutionary War.

The site also has a paved 1-mile walking trail with signs along the way pointing out the original 1781 Star Fort and the location for the old Ninety-Six town. If you are feeling more adventurous, there are several hiking trails, and fishing is allowed in the 26-acre Star Fort Pond, located on the back of the property.

You can eat lunch at one of a half-dozen picnic tables down the trail from the log house.

Living history events: Third Saturday of the month May-September, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Logan Log House/Black Swan Tavern. The events are free.

Ninety-Six National Historic Site, 1103 Highway 248 S, Ninety Six 864.543.4068.

Visitor center hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

For more information on history and heritage in South Carolina, visit

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