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Beaufort and the Civil War: Rehearsal for Reconstruction

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Calendar Availability: Monday at 2 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m.

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Beaufort and the Civil War: Rehearsal for Reconstruction

In November 1861, Union forces quickly overcame Confederate defenses and occupied five Lowcountry islands for the rest of the Civil War. While initially captured to create a refueling station for the Federal navy and port from which to blockade Charleston and Savannah, military commanders quickly but, for many, reluctantly recognized the need to address social and economic needs and questions. What should be done with or for the existing population?

This led to a variety of efforts known as the Port Royal Experiment including the first schools for freed blacks, the first recruitment of ex-slave soldiers, and the first land sales to former slaves.

While walking through our beautiful, antebellum town, Dr. Folsom engages visitors to imagine a wealthy, aristocratic lifestyle, the center of the Secession movement, suddenly occupied by thousands of soldiers, a massive wartime hospital system, and the pathway to freedom for slaves that could get there. (There are no battlefields on this tour!)