HBF hosts dinner and a lecture series

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An illustrated history of the CSS Planter from its life as a packet boat operated with an enslaved crew to its place in history as the US Planter, a political and naval icon, will be presented as part of Historic Beaufort Foundation’s “Dinner & a Lecture” series Monday, November 28, 5:30-7 p.m., at the Verdier House, 801 Bay St.
“The History of the CSS Planter,” will be presented by Robert Smalls’ scholar, lecturer and model maker Dennis Cannady.  He will trace the ship from its construction order by Scottish Capt. John Ferguson in late 1859, its trial runs in Shem’s Creek in late 1860, its wartime use and its postwar history when Ferguson repurchased it for use as a commercial steamer, as well as its demise.
The story of the enslaved Robert Smalls’ daring capture of the Planter in the Civil War led to his impact on Beaufort’s history for over 45 years and on generations of Beaufortonians. Another compelling facet of the story is the life of Capt. John Ferguson, whose great-granddaughter lives in Beaufort today and who has established friendship with Smalls’ descendants.
Cannady, like most new to Beaufort, had never heard of Smalls despite a lifetime of Civil War research. Once here, with his avocation of history and his hobby of building historic ship models, Cannady found previously unexplored material.
In addition to lecturing on Smalls and the crafting of ship models for Osher Life Long Learning, Cannady, a retired mechanical engineer, is a lecturer for the nationally touring exhibition, “The Life & Times of Congressman Robert Smalls,” now on exhibit at the Verdier House until December 20.
Open to HBF members and non-members, the monthly lecture series features a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Programs are 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. followed by audience questions and are held the fourth Monday of each month.
A three-course dinner at Saltus River Grill is offered at $19 per person for attendees at the lecture. Admission to the lecture is $15/$25 per member/member couple respectively, and $20/$30 per non-member/non-member couple respectively. Seating is limited; call 379-3331.