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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hatteras in Dare County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Flagship USS Minnesota/Hotel de Afrique

 
 
Flagship USS Minnesota Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 16, 2011
1. Flagship USS Minnesota Marker
Inscription.
Side A:
Flagship USS Minnesota
USS Minnesota, a wooden steam frigate built in 1855, was the flagship for the Atlantic Blockading Squadron commanded by Flag Officer Silas H. Stringham. Seven United States Navy warships bombarded Forts Hatteras and Clark, August 28-29, 1861. This was the first time the United States Navy employed the tactic of having ships sail in a single oval formation. Using Stringham's innovative maneuver, the fleet rained down a continuous barrage of several thousand shells. Seven African American sailors manned the forward gun on the USS Minnesota firing on these Confederate fortifications. This black crew was mustered in at Boston, Massachusetts and included: William Brown, Charles Johnson, George Moore, George H. Roberts, George Sales, William H. White and Henry Williams.

Side B:
Hotel de Afrique
The 1st Safe Haven for African Americans in North Carolina during the Civil War The New York Times Friday, January 29, 1862 "Capt. Clark has erected a very commodious wooden house on the beach for the use of fugitives who have recently arrived from Roanoke Island. It is christened "Hotel de Afrique." Franklin Tillet, the older man who last arrived, came down from Roanoke Island in a boat, bringing with him fifteen of his household... They
Hotel de Afrique Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 16, 2011
2. Hotel de Afrique Marker
are very expert boatmen, and are very useful in pulling about the inlet and working along the shore." As the demands for safe haven continued to increase, this small structure, along with nine wooden barracks built behind Fort Clark, became the predecessor to the Freedman's Colony on Roanoke Island. The Hotel was approximately 1-1/2 miles west of this location.
 
Erected by Dare County Tourism Board.
 
Location. 35° 12.362′ N, 75° 42.276′ W. Marker is in Hatteras, North Carolina, in Dare County. Marker can be reached from Museum Drive 0.2 miles west of Coast Guard Drive. Touch for map. Located at sidewalk entrance near parking lot at Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Part of the Hatteras Village Guided Tour. Marker is in this post office area: Hatteras NC 27943, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Maritime Casualties of the American Civil War/Loss of the USS Monitor (a few steps from this marker); Fort Clark/The Bombardment of Fort Hatteras (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Burnside's Expedition Crossing Hatteras Bar/The Burnside Expedition at Hatteras Inlet (about 300 feet away); Confederate Forts
Flagship USS Minnesota Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 16, 2011
3. Flagship USS Minnesota Marker
(approx. 0.2 miles away); America's 1st Attempt at Civil War Reunification (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mitchell Demonstrates Air Power (approx. 5 miles away); Paukenschlag (approx. 10.1 miles away); Life at the Light (approx. 10.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hatteras.
 
Additional comments.
1.
On Thursday August 25, 2011 there was a dedication of a Civil War Historic Marker at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in honor of “Hotel De Afrique”, supposedly the first safe haven for runaway slaves in the North Carolina as stated on the memorial.

On closer examination, neither the Carolina Country article or the marker gave a true account of actually events. Even the New York Times of January 29, 1862 reported that the fugitives were “very expert boatmen, and are very useful (to Northern troops) in pulling about the inlet and working along the shore.” The article gave the impression that Northern troops and run away slaves lived in harmony.

However, barely one month later the 48th Pennsylvania Regiment suffered one of its saddest and
Hotel de Afrique Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 16, 2011
4. Hotel de Afrique Marker
darkest days in its honored past.

According to regiment reports, on March 11, 1962 Colonel James Nagle sent six companies to reinforce Ambrose Burnside and board the steamer George Peabody. The steamer was aground and the men found themselves inundated with whiskey dealers who were crowding the waterways. Many of the soldiers got drunk and soon fighting broke out among the regiment. However, around midnight, some of the men from Company C broke into the “Hotel De Afrique” and savagely attacked the former slaves. The soldiers attacked the referees with bayonets and Knives cutting several very severely. “Old Gallaway (Colonel Nagle’s) Coulered servant, having bin in for the night, received a Cut in the stomach which will undoubtedly prove fatal. A Contraband had a finger Cut off, the sinew of his left hand Cut” (Captain James Wren’s Civil War Diary, Berkeley Books, 1990).

Gallaway died and the regiment received only a slight reprimand. The murderer or murderers were
never identified.

In conclusion, the article by Michael E.C. Gery, writer and editor for Carolina Country, and the researchers for the NC Historical Marker demonstrates that both took the February 15, 1862 Harper’s Weekly statement that Hotel De Afrique was the “first safe haven” for runaway slaves on face value. Perhaps they were safe from Ole master, but not safe from the drunken murderous Northern Army. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted September 3, 2012, by Edd Charlton of Wadesboro, North Carolina.

 
Categories. African AmericansWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2011, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 803 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 18, 2011, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   2. submitted on August 21, 2011, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   3. submitted on August 18, 2011, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on August 21, 2011, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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