Greene and the Decision to Lay Siege
- Revolutionary War, Social Studies
- Group Size:
- Up to 36
- National/State Standards:
- South Carolina
- Ninety Six, Nathanael Greene, Thaddeus Kosciusko, siege
OverviewThis lesson uses two excerpts that discuss the issues surrounding Greene and the decision to lay siege to Star Fort. Students will compare and contrast the two excerpts to develop and understanding of Greene’s decision.
1. Students will develop a fuller understanding of the events leading to the siege of Star Fort.
2. Students will build historical thinking skills through the use of multiple sources of information and differing interpretations.Students will use analysis of written information to reach historical conclusions.
BackgroundThe fort at Ninety Six was originally built to protect settlers from Indian attacks in the mid-18th century, and later served as a strategic post during the southern campaign of the American Revolution. The town and fort were captured by the British during their 1780 campaign in South Carolina. The village became an important outpost for British control of the South Carolina interior and Georgia frontier during the southern campaigns. Patriot leaders saw the capture of the village and fort as necessary to liberate the South Carolina interior from British control. The Loyalist commander at Ninety Six in 1781 was Lt Col. John Harris Cruger. He was originally from New York City & had under his command 550 men & only one British officer the rest were American born. The fort underwent a nearly month-long siege in mid-1781 by Patriot forces under General Nathanael Greene.
The materials for this lesson provide the components necessary to complete the lesson activities. The materials include two passages about the siege of Ninety Six and two questioning organizers to help students formally question and analyze the passages.
The materials for this lesson provide the components necessary to complete the lesson activities. The materials include two passages about the siege of Ninety Six and two questioning organizers to help students formally question and analyze the passages. Download
Step 1: Begin with "The Siege of the Star Fort" which is an example of narrative text about Fort Ninety Six.
Step 2: Before introducing the text as a shared reading, ask students to think about a set of questions that are based on the three elements of text structure:
a) Purpose: Why did the author write this piece?
b) Vocabulary: What kinds of vocabulary words did the author use?
c) Structure: How is the piece organized?
Distribute blank copies of an adaptation of the comparison sheet and ask students to jot down their thoughts in the appropriate boxes. Read the narrative text aloud while projecting a blank copy of the comparison chart. Ask the class to share their responses and record them.
Step 3: Lead the class in a discussion of the passage to assess their understanding of the passage. Discuss how the text structure and vocabulary supports the author's purpose in writing the passage.
a) Who are the main characters in the passage?
b) What words or phrases describe the situation around Ninety Six?
c) What is the tone of the passage?
d) What words or phrases describe the environment of the passage?
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 with an excerpt from "South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History," which is an example of informational text on the same historical topic.
Distribute blank copies of an adaptation of the comparison sheet and ask students to jot down their thoughts in the appropriate boxes for this passage. Read the narrative text aloud while projecting a blank copy of the comparison chart. Ask the class to share their responses and record them.
Use comprehension questions that are fact-based to discuss the text. Include how the structure and vocabulary support the author's purpose in writing this piece and how it possibly differs from the first passage.
a) Why did Cruger not know to abandon the fort?
b) Why was Kosciusko such a great benefit to Greene?
c) How did Kosciusko wish to attack the Star Redoubt?
d) What problems did Greene face in dealing with Ninety Six?
Step 5: Have students address the following historical issues that the two passages bring to light.
- How do the two passages differ?
- What are the similarities between the two passages?
- What do the differences between the two passages indicate?
Step 6: Complete the lesson by having student completely answer the following question:Why did Greene decide to lay siege to the Star Fort in May, 1781?
1. The type of student responses to the questions and tasks in the lesson and the questions that they pose to the teacher.
2. The quality of discussion about the various materials in the lesson.3. The amount of interaction and quality responses in Steps 5 and 6 that have students synthesize why Greene decided to lay siege to Star Fort and what the ramifications of that decision potentially were.
Park ConnectionsThe village of Ninety Six and the Star Fort were crucial to British control of the South Carolina interior. This lesson plan addresses Greene's decision to lay siege to the fort to retake the surrounding area. The centerpiece of the park is the Star Fort which provides an incredible opportunity to extend the lesson with a visit to the park
After the lesson, the teacher could plan a field trip to Ninety Six National Historic Site where a teacher-led or Ranger-led tour of the park, including Star Fort, stockade, and 18th century house, would develop a visual and physical understanding of the circumstances surrounding Greene's decision to lay siege to Star Fort.