Beaufort, South Carolina: United States Colored Troops, Beaufort National Cemetery

USCT Beaufort National Cemetery
U. S. Colored Troops – Beaufort National Cemetery. Photo: December 13, 2014, Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.
1st SC Infantry of African Descent historical marker. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. All rights reserved.

1st SC Infantry of African Descent – The 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment was raised from sea island slaves living around Port Royal. Elements of the regiment were formed on Hilton Head in May 1862. In August 1862, the regiment was reorganized near Beaufort at the Smith plantation. It was commanded by the noted abolitionist Thomas W. Higginson who led the Regiment on raids along the Georgia coast. On Jan. 1, 1863, the regiment was formerly mustered into the United States Army. The regiment saw extensive service on the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida Coasts. On Feb. 8, 1864, the regiment was redesignated as the 33rd Infantry Regiment of the United States Colored Troops. The regiment assisted in the occupation of Charleston, Savannah, Augusta and other points until it was mustered out on Jan. 31, 1866.”

Grand Army of the Republic Hall, Beaufort, South Carolina. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, December 13, 2014. All rights reserved.

This building was built ca. 1896 by the David Hunter Post, No. 9, Grand Army of the Republic (G. A. R.) The G. A. R., founded in 1866, was a fraternal society for veterans of the Union Army and navy, with white and black posts. David Hunter Post was founded in 1888 by African-American veterans, many of them former slaves on Sea Island plantations who had been soldiers in the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War.

The post was named for Gen. David Hunter, (1802-1886), who had organized the nucleus of the 1st S. C. Volunteers (Colored) in 1862. Robert Smalls (1839-1915), Civil War hero, state legislator, militia general, and U. S. Congressman, was a post officer. The post hosted annual Decoration Day services at Beaufort National Cemetery and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War continue that tradition. – Historical marker, Grand Army of the Republic Hall

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