Thursday, June 13, 2024

Talkshow Thursday: Leagh Matthews!

Star Fort, South Carolina’s Last British Stronghold
by Diana Leagh Matthews

A few months ago, I walked around Star Fort in Ninety Six, South Carolina.

Ninety Six, a small town of about two thousand people, is about ninety minutes from both Greenville and the state capital, Columbia.

The most notable landmark is Star Fort or as it’s known today, the Ninety Six National Historic Site. The name derives from the shape of the stronghold.

Star Fort is an earthen fort built in the shape of an eight-point star. While not a popular design, Loyalist
engineer Lt. Henry Haldane decided the shape would be better for the site than a traditional square fort. According to the National Park Service "the star shape allowed musket and cannon fire in all directions."

Back during the Revolutionary War, Ninety Six only had about a hundred people. In the early days of the war, it became a Loyalist stronghold. The British fortified the area, in 1780, deciding the location made it a strategic locale toward the larger cities.

In May 1781, Major General Nathanael Greene of the Continental Army, led a thousand troops in a siege against 550 Loyalists. The siege centered on the star fort and lasted for over twenty-eight days. While outnumbering the troops almost two-to-one the patriots were defeated.

The attack began at noon on June 18, 1781. Fifty Patriot soldiers were ordered forward to prepare the way for the main army. They used their axes to cut through the extended fort walls.

The assault only lasted forty-five minutes before General Greene called it off. Thirty of the fifty soldiers ordered to make way for the mass army, never made it back to Patriot lines, having been killed.

Star Fort became the last British stronghold in South Carolina.

The old fort was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

As I walked part of the mile and a half trail, I tried to picture the area as it had once been so long ago.

*All photos courtesy of Diana Leagh Matthews


Diana Leagh Matthews shares God’s love through her story from rebel to redeemed. Her day job is as a volunteer coordinator, but at night she writes and hunts genealogy. She gives programs as a speaker, teacher, and presents historical monologues. Leagh (pronounced Lee) is the author of Carol of the Rooms. Her novel Forever Changed is set near Star Fort and will be released in early 2025. She also writes the history behind hymns at

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