Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Battle of Port Royal/William Fitzhugh and Black Sailors in the Union Navy
On November 7, 1861, at the Battle of Port Royal Union forces attacked Confederates at Fort Walker on Hilton Head island and Fort Beauregard at Bay Point.The Union deployed the largest amphibious fleet ever assembled off American shores. The Confederates were quickly defeated. Hilton Head Island became headquarters for the U.S. Department of the South for the remainder of the Civil War.
Nov. 8, 1861
To The Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that yesterday I attacked the batteries of Forts Walker and Beauregard, and succeeded in silencing them after an engagement of four hours' duration, and driving away the squadron of rebel steamers under Commander Tatnall.
Captain S.F. Dupont, Flag-Officer Commanding
William Fitzhugh and Black Sailors in the Union Navy
Union sailor William H. Fitzhugh, recorded as a "first-class boy" in navy records, was one of the first casualties at Fortress Monroe in Virginia. He was wounded while onboard the Pawnee and died the next day. He was buried with full military honors
Free and formerly enslaved black men served with distinction in the Union Navy. They made up about fifteen percent of the enlisted men by the close of the Civil War in 1865. Many joined the Union Navy on Hilton Head Island. Their knowledge of local waterways was especially useful to the military.
(top left) Captain S.F. Dupont, c.1860. Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 9, 1861.
(top right)Port Royal and Beaufort. Image courtesy of the Civil War Gazette.
(bottom left) Unknown black sailor in the Union Navy, c. 1865. Image courtesy of the U.S. National Achieves and Records Administration.
Erected by Mitchelville Preservation Project.
Location. 32° 14.199′ N, 80° 41.216′ W. Marker is in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in Beaufort County. Marker can be reached from Beach City Road 0.4 miles north of Dillon Road, on the right when traveling north. Marker located within walking distance of entrance, and inside Fish Haul Creek Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 226 Beach City Rd, Hilton Head Island SC 29926, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Dawn of Freedom: Mitchelville (here, next to this marker); Black Troops on Hilton Head (here, next to this marker); Mitchelville Building Sites Mitchelville and Abolitionists (within shouting distance of this marker); Religion in Mitchelville/School in Mitchelville (within shouting distance of this marker); Working for Wages/Freedmen’s Bureau (within shouting distance of this marker); Reconnecting with Family (within shouting distance of this marker); Cherry Hill School (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hilton Head Island.
Regarding The Battle of Port Royal/William Fitzhugh and Black Sailors in the Union Navy. Mitchelville Freedom Park is the “brain trust” of a dedicated group of volunteers organized as the Mitchelville Preservation Project. Their mission, as quoted from its website, is to: “offer visitors a multi-dimensional freedom celebration that includes historical, cultural, social, political, economic and spiritual components. Parts of the original Town of Mitchelville will be recreated, and the Freedom Park will feature a series of ever changing learning opportunities in the form of revolving exhibits, lectures, forums, tours and cultural programs”.
Located within Fish Haul Creek Park, the site currently consist of a free standing pavilion and numerous markers depicting historical events related to Mitchelville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. They are related to the Mitchelville Freedom Park Preservation Project.
Also see . . . Mitchelville Preservation Project. (Submitted on July 12, 2017.)
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels •
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Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 237 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 10, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.