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home : news : lakelands & beyond March 22, 2017

2/25/2017 3:22:00 PM
Key to Victory through Engineering

Ninety Six National Historic Site will host a free, family friendly “Key to Victory through Engineering” event on Saturday, March 18 from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm along the one-mile interpretive trail, near the siege works. Reenactors portraying military engineers will demonstrate how the strategy of the siege unfolded as well as the types of tools and equipment the Patriots used to lay siege to Ninety Six throughout May - June 1781.  See a variety of original and reproduction tools used to survey land such as compass, chains, transits, ‘Y’ levels, and more. 

During the Siege of Ninety Six the Southern Department of the Continental Army’s Chief Engineer, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, laid out plans to besiege the British held Star Fort. He believed that the Star was the strongest position and that if it fell the town of Ninety Six and the Stockade Fort would fallow.  With this belief he convinced General Nathanael Greene to besiege the Star. Soon after the siege began, he directed trenches to be dug toward the Star Fort. Digging in the hard clay was slow and exhausting work for the Patriots. To improve their odds Kosciuszko ordered that a 30 foot Maham Tower be built, allowing Patriot sharpshooters to fire down into the Star Fort.  From the 3rd parallel Kosciuszko ordered that a mine (tunnel) be dug.  The idea was to dig under the Star Fort, fill it with gunpowder and blow a hole in the Star to allow the Patriots to attack. Due to time restraints the mine was never completed and still exists today as the only surviving Revolutionary War mine. While the mine is not open to the public it is just one of the examples of Kosciuszko’s engineering accomplishments at Ninety Six. Many of the engineering concepts and tools used by Kosciuszko in the Siege on the Star Fort are still used by engineers today, both civilian and military.

Don’t forget to stop by the newly renovated visitor center to watch the park movie, Ninety Six: Crossroads of a Revolution, browse the bookstore, and discover artifacts in the museum. All activities are free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, this event may be cancelled.

The park is located 2 miles south of the town of Ninety Six on Highway 248.  Visitors should wear comfortable outdoor clothing and walking shoes. The trail is uneven in some areas and caution is recommended. The park encourages visitors to carpool as parking will be limited.

Ninety Six National Historic Site is a unit of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks Group within the National Park Service. The group mission is to protect, preserve and interpret the significance of the decisive battles where America earned its freedom. For more information about activities at Ninety Six NHS, call (864) 543-4068 or visit the park’s webpage at Like us on Facebook at

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