You'll be able to turn the calendar back 253 years at Ninety Six National Historic Site next month when the park marks the anniversary of the first Cherokee attack on Fort Ninety Six.
Reenactors portraying soldiers and Indian warriors will demonstrate camp life at this free park program on Feburary 2 and 3 from 9 a.m. -- 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Living history interpreters from Fort Dobbs, North Carolina, will portray Middleton's Regiment and the Corps of Indians at the Stockade Fort. These provincial soldiers and Cherokee warriors will present musket firing demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days. Ongoing demonstrations of 18th century military and American Indian camp life will occur throughout the weekend.
The Cherokee had been British allies when the French and Indian War started in 1754, but tensions arose and quickly spiraled into war. As a result, Fort Ninety Six was quickly erected around Robert Gouedy's trading post and barn.
The attacks spread across the backcountry, causing terror among the settlers who sought safety and protection at Ninety Six. As a prime center of refuge, Cherokee warriors favored Fort Ninety Six as a target during the early months of 1760. At this time, settlers deferred to the British government for authority and protection. Another 20 years passed before the American Revolution broke out.
On February 3, 1760, approximately 30 Cherokee attacked Fort Ninety Six, which was defended by 45 settlers and African American slaves. The assault lasted for two hours and the Cherokee retreated with two dead.
One month later, on March 3, the Cherokee attacked Fort Ninety Six again. This time, the Cherokee contingent numbered over 200 and began a continuous fire lasting 36 hours until the Indians withdrew. The settlers sustained only superficial wounds, but discovered six Indians dead outside the fort. It wasn't just Fort Ninety Six that the Cherokee targeted. Additional military outposts such as Fort Prince George, Fort Loudoun, and Fort Dobbs also engaged with the Cherokee.
Ninety Six National Historic Site is located two miles south of Ninety Six, South Carolina, on South Carolina Highway 248.