HISTORY: Emancipation

Excerpted from the S.C. Encyclopedia | The experience of slavery’s demise varied around the state and followed the progress of the Civil War. Freedom came early and suddenly to Port Royal when on November 7, 1861, Union forces bombarded and occupied the area. Black Carolinians in the vicinity referred to this occasion as the “Day of the Big Gun Shoot,” and during the next several weeks Federal troops seized Beaufort, the rest of Hilton Head, St. Helena, Ladys, and other nearby islands. Most planters fled the Federal troops and attempted to persuade or coerce their slaves to accompany them northward toward Charleston or into the interior, away from the path of the invasion. While many relocated with their owners, a substantial number resisted evacuation; some were killed for their refusal.