Battery Saxton, constructed here in 1862, was in the second line of earthworks built by Federal troops occupying Beaufort during the Civil War. Laid out by the 1st New York Engineers with the assistance of black laborers, it held 3 8 inch siege howitzers and was occupied 1862-65 as one of two batteries anchoring a line from Battery Creek to the Beaufort River, the remnants of which are visible here just south of U.S. Hwy. 21 (known as Shell Rd. during the war).
Battery Saxton was named for Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton (1824-1908), a native of Massachusetts. Saxton, an ardent abolitionist, served for most of the war in and around Beaufort in the Union Dept. of the South. As military governor of the Ga. and S.C. sea islands 1862-65 he led the way in educating freedmen and in raising and training black units for service in the U.S. Army. Saxton was later assistant commissioner for the Freedmen's Bureau for S.C. and Ga. & Fla., 1865-66.