Sea Foam: 150 years after the Battle of Port Royal, the legacy lives on

Special commemoration events planned across county

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comOctober 24, 2011 

  • - The Beaufort County Library and its Beaufort District Collection will commemorate the Battle of Port Royal with two free history sessions featuring Michael Coker, author of "The Battle of Port Royal," on Nov. 7.

    - There will be a book signing with Coker at
    2 p.m. at the Bluffton library. Coker; Dr. Larry Rowland and Stephen Hoffius, co-editors of "The Civil War in South Carolina"; and Neil Baxley, author of "No Prouder Fate," will be featured at a
    district collection history series from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Frissell Hall on the Penn Center Campus on St. Helena Island.

    - Details: 843-255-6456 (Beaufort), 843-255-6490 (Bluffton), 843-255-6500 (Hilton Head), 843-255-6475 (Lobeco), 843-838-8304 (St. Helena), or 843-255-6468 (Beaufort District Collection);

Thanks to the Port Royal Plantation Association of Landowners on Hilton Head Island for sharing the details of an upcoming event to commemorate the history in their neighborhood that transformed the Lowcountry and nation.

Port Royal Plantation is hosting a community commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Port Royal from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 5. Port Royal Plantation includes the historic site of Fort Walker and the naval battle on Nov. 7, 1861, that made Hilton Head Island an important supply and headquarters base for the federal military during the Civil War.

The commemoration event will include participation by heritage groups, encampments by both Union and Confederate re-enactors, as well as displays of historic photographs, maps and artifacts.

The formal program at noon will include a welcome by Hilton Head Mayor Drew Laughlin, a historical presentation about the Battle of Port Royal by Charleston author Michael Coker, a portrayal of the Drayton "brother versus brother" story by local resident John Witherspoon, Civil War music, presentation of colors by the Hilton Head Island High School Naval JROTC, an opening salvo from Fort Walker, and a final rifle salute and "Taps."

The commemoration has been designated a "Sesquicentennial Signature Event" by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Participating Civil War-related groups include: Charles Devens Jr. Camp No. 10, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Gen. Richard H. Anderson Camp No. 47, Sons of Confederate Veterans; re-enactors of the 11th South Carolina Infantry Regiment (Hagoods Brigade), 7th N.Y. Veteran Volunteers Infantry Regiment (New York Zouaves), 17th N.Y. Veteran Volunteers Artillery, 3rd New Hampshire Volunteers Infantry Regiment, and the CSA Waccamaw Light Artillery.

Will Dopp, event coordinator, said: "We're delighted to have attracted such an outstanding number of re-enactors and heritage groups, historians and community leaders to tell the story of the battle and Hilton Head Island's important role in the Civil War."

This outdoor event (rain or shine) is open and free to the public, courtesy of the Port Royal Plantation Landowners Association. Visitors will receive parking instructions at the gate and be shuttled to the Fort Walker site; no bicycles or walk-ins are permitted. Program seating and light refreshments will be available. Due to expected large attendance, pets, coolers, lawn chairs and other bulky items will not be permitted. Gates will close when all parking lots are full.

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