Beaufort History Museum to mark 160th anniversary of Occupation of Beaufort

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The re-enactors will encamp in The Arsenal Courtyard and present live presentations of Civil War era camp life, educational discussions, drills, marching, bagpiping, and interactive activities for the entire family Saturday. Submitted photo

Live re-enactment will take place Saturday 

From staff reports 

The Beaufort History Museum will recognize the 160th anniversary of the occupation of Beaufort by Federal forces by hosting the 79th New York Highlander Regiment and 48th New York Infantry, Company F, in a live re-enactment of those units at The Arsenal Courtyard (713 Craven St.), from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4. 

In early December 1861, the two U.S. Army units were part of the occupation of Beaufort after the success of the Union Navy in the Battle of Port Royal on November 7. Beaufort was captured by the army as part of the larger strategy of blockading the Southern ports to prevent commerce with Europe. 

Port Royal Sound was the deepest natural harbor south of New York City. It became the first of several ports in the deep South to serve as bases for the blockade fleet. The occupation included converting the churches to hospitals to create a medical center. The John Mark Verdier House on Bay St. served as the army’s headquarters. 

The re-enactors present live demonstrations of Civil War era camp life, educational discussions, drills, marching, bagpiping, discussions and live demonstrations of the importance of music and bugle calls during the War, the variety and use of weapons including cannon, how medical support was deployed in the field, the role of women, camp “dining” and cooking, interactive activities for the entire family. 

Admission to the event is free (donations will be accepted). Admission to the Beaufort History Museum will be discounted for Adults ($5) and Seniors ($4). Active military and children under 12 are free. 

Beaufort History Museum members will have a special opportunity to have coffee with the re-enactors from 9 to 10 a.m., Saturday at the Arsenal. Non-members may join at BeaufortHistoryMuseum.com. 

The 79th New York Volunteer Infantry 

The 79th New York Volunteer Infantry – a regiment of the New York State Militia – was originally organized as a social club in New York City in 1858. It was comprised primarily of emigrant Scots and Scots-Americans. The militia was modeled on the famous Scots regiment of the British Army – the 79th Cameron Highlanders of Scotland. Other than their name and tartan, however, they had no official connection with the Scots unit. 

In December 1861, The Highlanders were sent to the city of Beaufort to help occupy the town. At one point, they set up camp near what is now the National Cemetery on Boundary St. 

The 48th New York Infantry 

The 48th New York Infantry was authorized by the War Department on July 24, 1861, and was recognized and numbered by New York on September 14, 1861. The regiment occupied Port Royal, Hilton Head Island, and Bluffton after the Battle of Port Royal. 

Among its many actions in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina, the regiment was present at the Battle of Fort Wagner, S.C., July 18, 1863, where it lost 242 men killed, wounded, or missing. It was mustered out on September 1, 1865, in Raleigh, N.C. 

The Beaufort History Museum 

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m., Saturday. Please call 843-525-8500 beforehand to confirm museum staff availability. 

The museum, which was founded in 1939, has evolved to focus specifically on the deep and rich history of the Beaufort District. It strives to manage and display artifacts and documents held by the City of Beaufort, telling the compelling stories of this area, from the early 16th century until modern times. For information on all the Museum events, visitBeaufortHistoryMuseum.com, or follow the Museum’s Facebook page. 

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