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Who was the sailor and later a Union Naval captain, who was highly honored for his feats of bravery and heroism. He become a congressman after the Civil War. Robert Smalls

Robert Smalls was born 1839 and died 1916.

click below for a Google Earth of Beaufort South Carolina, where Robert Smalls was born.

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robert_smalls.jpg click here
this is Robert Smalls




In 1862 Robert Smalls, a 23-year-old mulatto slave, was employed by Confederates in Charleston, S.C. as pilot of Planter, area commander General Roswell Ripley’s transport steamer. In the early morning hours of May 13 the ship was loaded with armaments for the rebel forts. Contrary to regulations the white captain and crew were ashore for the night. (more)

At about 3 a.m. Smalls commandeered the 147-foot vessel from a dock fronting General Ripley’s home and office. Smalls and his crew sailed to a nearby dock, collected family members from another ship and headed toward sea. Aboard Planter during its dash to the Union blockading squadron were Smalls’ wife, children and 12 other slaves.

Smalls donned the captain’s broad-brimmed straw hat and assumed the captain’s typical stance - arms akimbo - in the pilot house. As he passed each rebel fort he gave the correct whistle signal and was allowed to pass. Onward, the nearest Union blockading vessel, was preparing to fire on the approaching ship when Smalls raised a white flag and surrendered.

Union press hailed Smalls as a national hero, calling the ship “the first trophy from Fort Sumter.” A Congressional bill signed by President Lincoln awarded prize money to Smalls and his associates.

In August 1862 two Union generals sent Smalls and missionary Mansfield French to meet with Secretary of War Stanton and President Lincoln. Their request to recruit 5000 black troops was soon granted. In October, 1862 during a speaking tour of New York to raise support for the Union cause Smalls was presented an engraved gold medal by “the colored citizens of New York” for his heroism, love of liberty and patriotism.Robert Smalls information



SMALLS, Robert, a Representative from South Carolina; born in Beaufort, S.C., April 5, 1839; moved to Charleston, S.C., in 1851; appointed pilot in the United States Navy and served throughout the Civil War; member of the State constitutional convention in 1868; served in the State house of representatives, 1868-1870; member of the State senate 1870-1874; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1872 and 1876; elected as a Republican to the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses (March 4, 1875-March 3, 1879); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1878 to the Forty-sixth Congress; successfully contested the election of George D. Tillman to the Forty-seventh Congress and served from July 19, 1882, to March 3, 1883; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1882; elected to the Forty-eighth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Edmund W.M. Mackey; reelected to the Forty-ninth Congress and served from March 18, 1884, to March 3, 1887; unsuccessful for reelection in 1886 to the Fiftieth Congress; collector of the port of Beaufort, S.C., 1897-1913; died in Beaufort, S.C., February 22, 1915; interment in the Tabernacle Baptist Church Cemetery.{{http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index+S000502|more Robert Smalls information]]








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Robert Smalls

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