On assuming command of Ninety Six in 1780, Lieutenant Colonel Cruger set out to fortify the town in the event of a Patriot attack. The Star Fort was the center of his defense and today offers a rare view of original British military field fortifications from the 1700s. It is one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War earthworks in the nation. Imagine the high walls, now eroded, steep outer ditch, and protruding fraises, or sharpened stakes, driven into the ramparts (walls of the fort), that rose before the Patriots huddled in the trenches.
The eight-pointed fort was erected by slaves, who struggled along with British soldiers to fashion it from the heavy red soil. To out eyes, the interior hardly seems adequate space for 200 Loyalists — and their artillery — trapped here during the weeks of the 1781 siege. In the hot South Carolina spring, with limited provisions and difficult access to water, the Loyalists withing must have questioned their survival. Notice the ridge in the center. It is a traverse, of fallback provision, in case the Patriots breached the walls.
The ingenious design of the Star Fort permitted soldiers to fire from its many angles. Attackers from any direction were immediately caught in the crossfire. This defense proved fatal to many of the Forlorn Hope during Greene's final assault in June 18.