On the north end of the Beaufort National Cemetery stand two granite blocks affixed with bronze plaques.
Solid, strong, resolute. They are a perfect emblem for those buried below: 19 black Union soldiers who died on the beaches of South Carolina in 1863 and 1864.
A treasure hunter with a metal detector discovered the remains on Folly Island in 1987.
Two years later, they were reinterred in the Beaufort cemetery with full military honors during a Memorial Day ceremony.
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Their names are still unknown, but their sacrifices are no longer forgotten.
They are believed to be members of the 55th Massachusetts Regiment, the 1st North Carolina Colored Infantry Regiment and, possibly, the famed 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Anthropologists concluded the soldiers died from disease while camped on the beaches.
These regiments -- made up of free blacks and former slaves -- fought for much more than a way of life.
"These black soldiers ... fought for their own liberty, to grasp their own freedom and ensure both for others of their race," said then Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis at the ceremony.
The Massachusetts 55th was the state's second all-African-American unit and fought along the more well-known Massachussets 54th.
The 54th Infantry, immortalized in the Academy Award-winning film "Glory," is largely known for its assault on Morris Island's Fort Wagner. Roughly 600 men charged into battle that day in July of 1863.
Nearly half were killed, wounded or captured.
While the men did not win the battle at Fort Wagner, they and other black regiments won victories in many others -- and were forever remembered for their devotion and courage.
"I didn't even know these soldiers were buried here when I first started at the cemetery," said cemetery director Craig Arsell, who began in January. "But to see how the residents of South Carolina took these soldiers and made sure they got a proper burial and honored them, that is proof that the National Cemetery is both for the dead and the living."