Beaufort National Cemetery

February 10, 1863 –

The Beaufort National Cemetery contains the remains of more than 7,500 Civil War soldiers, 4,019 of whom are unknown and 117 of whom are known Confederates; the latter are buried in a separate section. In addition, the cemetery contains the graves of some 7,000 veterans of American wars and one World War II German sailor. The cemetery is still open for veterans and family members.

Located in the city of Beaufort on Boundary Street and U.S. Highway 21, the cemetery was authorized by President Abraham Lincoln in a letter dated February 10, 1863. The site was part of a sixty-four-acre tract known as Polly’s Grove Plantation. Union general David Hunter purchased the land for $75 at an 1863 tax sale of properties confiscated by the federal government. After the Civil War, the government retained twenty-nine acres for the cemetery and turned the balance over to the town of Beaufort, which established a municipal cemetery on part of the land.

The Beaufort National Cemetery contains the remains of more than 7,500 Civil War soldiers, 4,019 of whom are unknown and 117 of whom are known Confederates; the latter are buried in a separate section. In addition, the cemetery contains the graves of some 7,000 veterans of American wars and one World War II German sailor. The cemetery is still open for veterans and family members. Once well outside town limits, the National Cemetery is now within the city boundaries. In accordance with original plans, headstones fan out 180 degrees in rows, similar to spokes of half of a wagon wheel, with each gravestone angled to face the entrance flagpole. The only difference between the gravestones of U.S. soldiers and those of Confederates is that tops of the former are curved, while those of Confederates are pointed. At the start of the twenty-first century, the cemetery was expanded by twenty acres on adjacent land secured from the South Carolina National Guard.

Spieler, Gerhard. “Beaufort National Cemetery Was Once ‘Polly’s Grove.’” Beaufort Gazette, May 16, 1989, p. C5.

–––. “City Acquired Cemetery from U.S.” Beaufort Gazette, October 24, 1995, p. A12.

–––. “Graves of Confederate Veterans to be Decorated.” Beaufort Gazette, May 8, 1990, p. C4.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Beaufort National Cemetery
  • Coverage February 10, 1863 –
  • Author
  • Keywords authorized by President Abraham Lincoln, Polly’s Grove Plantation, Union general David Hunter, headstones fan out 180 degrees in rows, South Carolina National Guard
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 13, 2016
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