On Hallowed Ground at the Beaufort National Cemetery

Dated: April 28 2020

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The Beaufort National Cemetery is a beautiful site that's been sitting on Boundary Street for over 150 years. With Spanish moss-covered live oaks sheltering the lines of headstones, the cemetery holds a lot of history, and is a somber, peaceful resting place to many.

One of six national cemeteries that were established for Union soldiers and sailors who died in the area during the Civil War, the Beaufort National Cemetery was created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Laid out in a thoughtful, spoked shape, the cemetery was ultimately designed to be a place of beauty for years to come. Its rows of white stones seem to go on through the green grass forever.

With much labor, its border was completely surrounded by a hand-mortared red brick wall that was added in 1876, and, showing its age, is a beautiful sight to see today. The cemetery also features an entrance book-ended by large limestone piers that were added in 1940.

Upon its completion, the first interments were men who lost their lives in nearby Union hospitals during the occupation of Beaufort, early in the Civil War after the Battle of Port Royal. Then the remains of Union soldiers who had lost their lives in the war in different areas of the South were moved to Beaufort for burial.

The cemetery is also the resting place of one hundred Confederate soldiers who also died during the Civil War, as well as one officer from the British Royal Navy, who lost his life in World War Two.

Back in 1987, the remains of 19 Civil War soldiers from the African-American Massachusetts 54th Infantry were found in Charleston and then brought to the National Cemetery in Beaufort and buried, with full military honors. The ceremony was attended by many descendants of the men that served with the Massachusetts 54th Infantry during the Civil War.

The historic significance of the Beaufort National Cemetery is that more than 21,000 lie at rest there; and they're veterans from every single major U.S. conflict in history since the Civil War.

They include:

U.S. Civil War
Spanish-American War
World War I
World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Persian Gulf War
Iraq/Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghanistan/Operation Enduring Freedom

The Beaufort National Cemetery is a remarkable piece of living history, and we're very proud to have it here. Like a lot of us locals, you'll find yourself visiting and exploring the hallowed grounds on more occasions than just the Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays.

It's wonderful to have so much surrounding you, and wonderful to have so much to explore in Beaufort SC.

If you're thinking of relocating to the Beaufort SC area, we can help make your dream a reality by helping you find your forever home here in the Lowcountry. Call us at 843-521-2121 and one of our experienced agents can assist you in becoming a Beaufort local.

Cover photo courtesy Paul Sager

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