|South Carolina Department of Archives and History|
|National Register Properties in South Carolina
Camp Saxton Site, Beaufort County (United States Naval Hospital Beaufort, Port Royal)
|Site Overview||Site Overview|| Fort Frederick
| Fort Frederick
The Camp Saxton Site is nationally significant as an intact portion of the camp occupied from early November 1862 to late January 1863 by the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, the first black regiment mustered into regular service in the United States Army during the Civil War, and as the site of the elaborate ceremonies held here on New Year’s Day 1863 which formally announced and celebrated the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in areas then “in rebellion” against the United States. Throughout the summer of 1862 President Lincoln carefully considered the inclusion of blacks in the Union war effort, both in terms of the effect their emancipation could have on the Confederacy and in terms of the work they could perform as laborers and even soldiers in the U.S. Army. By August he was ready to implement a policy permitting his generals to use all the means at their disposal, including readily available black manpower, to help preserve the Union. On August 22nd Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton authorized Rufus Saxton to “arm, equip, and receive into the service of the United States such volunteers of African descent as you may deem expedient, not exceeding 5,000.” The Camp Saxton Site is an approximately six-acre wooded and greenspaced site, bounded on the east by the Beaufort River, on the west by the complex at the United States Naval Hospital Beaufort, on the north by the boat basin off the Beaufort River and on the south by the ruins of Fort Frederick. Listed in the National Register February 2, 1995.
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