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Beaufort National Cemetery — Beaufort, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Beaufort County  |  Beaufort National Cemetery

Designated by Abraham Lincoln on February 10, 1863, Beaufort National Cemetery is one of the oldest United States National Cemeteries. It is located on 33 acres in the heart of downtown Beaufort. Veterans from every conflict since the Civil War have been laid to rest here; the cemetery contains over than 18,500 graves.

Beaufort National Cemetery Entrance

Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1987 the remains of 19 Union soldiers were found on Folly Island near Charleston by beachcombers with metal detectors. The remains were later identified as members of the 55th Regiment and the 1st North Carolina Infantry, both comprised of African American soldiers who fought alongside the famed 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

Beaufort National Cemetery Markers

Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

On Memorial Day of 1989 the veterans were re-interred here; an Honor Guard of actors from the movie Glory, which at the time was being filmed near the cemetery, presided over the ceremony. The movie tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

Blue Star Memorial Beaufort

Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Visitors to the cemetery may notice the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker within the grounds. The Blue Star Memorial Highway program began in 1945 to honor all Unites States military servicemen and women; markers are placed along highways as well as sites dedicated to veterans. The marker standing at Beaufort National Cemetery was installed by the Beaufort Garden Club in 1998.

Beaufort National Cemetery

Lynne Dowling of Beaufort, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Two recipients of the military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, are buried here. Captain John James McGinty, III was instrumental in Vietnam’s 1966 Operation Hastings. The operation succeeded under McGinty’s leadership, driving the North Vietnamese Army beyond the Demilitarized Zone.

Beaufort Cemetery Medal Of Honor

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Private First Class Ralph Henry Johnson was only 19 years old when he threw himself on top of a live hand grenade to protect a fellow Marine as well as his patrol perimeter during the 1968 Operation Rock in Vietnam. The Charleston native died instantly in the blast. The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical center in Charleston is named in his honor.

Beaufort Medal Of Honor

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

South Carolina has two other national cemeteries, Florence National Cemetery in Florence and Fort Jackson National Cemetery in Columbia.

Beaufort Cemetery

Sara Dean of Moncks Corner, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Beaufort National Cemetery is listed in the National Register:

The Beaufort National Cemetery is significant because of its association with the Civil War as well as beyond the Civil War era, as the remains of veterans associated with every war and branch of service are interred here. The national cemetery was established in 1863. The period of significance ends in 1942, the year that Machinist Mate Gerd Reussel, a German World War II prisoner of war, was buried in the cemetery. The site is laid out in the shape of a half wheel. The cemetery’s roads form the spokes, and the large iron gates are set at the hub.

The main entrance is at the center of the south side and is protected by a double iron gate, which was constructed in 1940. The cemetery was originally enclosed by a wooden picket fence, which was replaced with a brick wall circa 1876. The original lodge was a wooden cottage with three rooms, which was constructed outside the walls of the cemetery and was moved to inside the cemetery in 1877. In 1881, a lodge of the standard design by Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs, was constructed near the former lodge. The Meigs lodge was used until 1934, when a new two-story brick and frame Dutch Colonial Revival style structure was constructed. The brick and stucco maintenance building, with a galvanized metal roof, was constructed in 1894. Three commemorative monuments or memorials are also located in the cemetery.

More Pictures of Beaufort National Cemetery

Beaufort National Cemetery

Ronald Jones of Ravenel, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Beaufort National Cemetery

Ronald Jones of Ravenel, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Beaufort National Cemetery

Ronald Jones of Ravenel, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Beaufort National Cemetery

William L. Nickles of Anderson, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Beaufort National Cemetery

Contributor Lynne Dowling shares her story of capturing the top photo: “I took this photo of the Marine Corps Honor Guard during the very solemn and moving Memorial Day Service at the Beaufort National Cemetery. I was able to capture the Marine Corps bus in the foreground which added a unique perspective.”

Add your own reflections here.

Beaufort National Cemetery Info

Address: 1601 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC 29902
GPS Coordinates: 32.439788,-80.679901

Beaufort National Cemetery Map

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7 Comments about Beaufort National Cemetery

Janice ChadwickNo Gravatar says:
April 10th, 2018 at 11:40 am

My parents are buried there. My mother died in 1989 and my father in 1999. I live in Montana now, so I don’t get to visit. My niece just graduated basic training last Thursday at Ft. Jackson and my brother and sister in law came from Albuquerque, NM for it. After the graduation, they came down to Beaufort to visit Mom and Dad’s grave, and my niece left the flowers that she got at graduation on their grave. This cemetery is such a beautiful and restful place, and the graves are well taken care of. My father served 2 years during WW2, then finished his degree, and then a few years later, rejoined the Air Force and served another 26 years, serving in the Vietnam War as well.

Charles FlettNo Gravatar says:
April 26th, 2016 at 12:28 pm

My great-great-grandfather is buried here. He died in 1863 of typhoid fever while fighting with the 142nd Infantry out of N.Y.

Jeannie Hendricks says:
June 28th, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Enjoyed reading this! I thought Gettysburg Cemetery was the oldest of the Civil War. Thanks for your info!

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
December 15th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hi, Jack. There is a website for the cemetery posted above the map. Hopefully, that will help you with scheduled events. Best of luck!

Jack WattsNo Gravatar says:
December 15th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Where can I find a listing of events held at the cemetery, i.e. Wreaths Across America, Veterans Day, Memorial Day?

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
June 17th, 2014 at 4:29 am

Hi, Stella. There is a website above the map; someone from the cemetery might be able to help you with that question. Best of luck.

Stella NolanNo Gravatar says:
June 16th, 2014 at 7:30 pm

My mother is buried there. I would like to know if artifical flowers are allowed at this time of year. Thank you in advance of your response. Respectfuly, Stella Nolan


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