“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
- Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman came to Beaufort, SC During the Civil War
On November 7, 1861 a Federal fleet commanded by Commodore Samuel Francis DuPont, with a force of 12,000 men under General Thomas W. Sherman, attacked and easily took Forts Walker and Beauregard located on opposite sides of the Beaufort River at the entrance to the Port Royal harbor. The town of Beaufort and the Sea Islands were evacuated by the majority of the white inhabitants who abandoned town houses and plantations, leaving behind most of their slaves.
In the spring of 1862, Harriet Tubman decided to go to the South Carolina Sea Islands to help alleviate the suffering of a people abruptly freed and in need of the basic necessities of life.
In Beaufort Harriet Tubman served the Union army in many capacities. She served as a scout, spy, and nurse and assisted in the recruitment of black soldiers.
Tubman also ran an “eating house” in Beaufort. She established a “wash house” where she taught newly freed women to do washing, sewing, and baking for the Union soldiers to become self-sufficient.