The U.S. Navy Attacks the South Carolina Coast

The Battle of Port Royal on November 7, 1861 was the beginning of the end of the Old South. Beaufort was the first southern city captured by Union forces, remaining in their hands throughout the war. The town had been completely abandoned by its white citizens by the time Federal forces arrived there.

Beaufort, South Carolina
Beaufort lies 10 miles inland along the Beaufort River which leads to the Port Royal …Read More...

After the Civil War, African American women were promised a new life of freedom with the same rights provided to other American citizens; unfortunately few of those promises came true.

African American Women in Antebellum America

Amid the harshness of slavery, American women of African descent managed to preserve the culture of their ancestry and articulate their struggles. Black female poets and writers emerged throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Many prominent free black women in the North were active in the Abolitionist Movement.

Slave Women
Enslaved women in every state of the antebellum Union undoubtedly considered escaping from bondage, but relatively few attempted it - often to …Read More...

Wives Fought to Keep Families Together

Image: Unidentified African American soldier in Union Uniform with his wife in dress and hat and two daughters in matching coats and hats.

As the news of the attack on Fort Sumter spread, free black men hurried to enlist in the Union Army, but a 1792 Federal law barred African Americans from bearing arms for the United States. However, by the summer of 1862 the escalating number of former slaves and the pressing need …Read More...

African American Nurses in the Civil War

Nursing was not a woman's job before the Civil War, but by 1865, there were over 3,000 nurses serving the Union and Confederacy. In the North, most women nurses worked in military hospitals.

Image: Black nurses with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry
The 13th Mass fought in numerous battles, from the Shenandoah Valley to Bull Run to Antietam

So many women volunteered as Union nurses that the U.S. government hired Dorothea Dix to …Read More...

Leader in the Integration of Philadelphia Streetcars

An undertaker's daughter, Caroline Le Count outscored all the boys in her class, struck up a correspondence with a Union army general, became only the second black woman named principal of a Philadelphia public school, and put her body on the line in the battle to integrate the streetcars. Soon she was noticed on the arm of a fellow activist, Octavius Catto.

Image: The streetcar shown here at Sixth and Jackson Street demonstrates …Read More...