Beaufort News

Beaufort County's role in Civil War highlighted

Pictured is Joe McGill in 2010 wearing a Union Army uniform inside the slave cabin behind the Heyward House in Old Town Bluffton. McGill is a founder of the re-enactment regiment of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
Pictured is Joe McGill in 2010 wearing a Union Army uniform inside the slave cabin behind the Heyward House in Old Town Bluffton. McGill is a founder of the re-enactment regiment of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Staff photo

A presentation highlighting Beaufort County's role in the Siege of Charleston Harbor during the Civil War will be held in downtown Beaufort on Thursday, according to a release from the Beaufort County Historical Society.

Local historians Dr. Stephen Wise and Dr. Lawrence Rowland will host the "Gate of Hell" presentation at 7 p.m. in the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts on Carteret Street, the release said.

Although the presentation will provide full coverage of the Charleston attack, including pictures and sketches of the campaign, it will also highlight the role Beaufort County played in the attack.

Wise said nearly the entire county served as the Union Army's base of operations for the Siege of Charleston Harbor, after the Union took the area in late 1861. Wise said the Beaufort area served as a hospital, while Union operations were housed on Hilton Head Island. Further, ships that departed for the attack on Charleston left for battle from Port Royal Sound.

Wise added the presentation would also touch on Beaufort residents who fought in the Confederate Army.

The presentation, sponsored by USC Beaufort and the historical society, is free to attend. The presentation is part of a series of planned events to mark the 150th anniversary of the events in Charleston.

Thursday is the 150th anniversary of the attack on Battery Wagner in Charleston Harbor by the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an attack immortalized in the 1989 film "Glory."

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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