The original interments in the national cemetery were men who died in nearby Union hospitals during the occupation and were initially buried in one of several places—among them East Florida and Hilton Head. About 2,800 remains were removed from cemeteries in Millen and Lawton, Ga., and reinterred in the national cemetery; 117 Confederate soldiers are also buried here.
In May 1987, souvenir hunters using metal detectors on Folly’s Island near Charleston discovered the remains of 19 Union soldiers. The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology identified the remains as members of the 55th Regiment and the 1st North Carolina Infantry. Both units were composed of black troops who fought with the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. The 1989 Memorial Day program at Beaufort National Cemetery featured the reinterment of the remains of these 19 Union soldiers missing in action since 1863. The honor guard for the service was composed of actors from the cast of the movie “Glory,” which was being filmed nearby.
Beaufort National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
(Source: Beaufort National Cemetery website)