Beaufort National Cemetery – Beaufort, South Carolina
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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 in the cemetery’s more than 18,500 interments. Two recipients of the military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, are interred here. Captain John James McGinty III was instrumental in the 1966 Operation Hastings in Vietnam. The operation was a success under McGinty’s leadership in driving the North Vietnamese Army beyond the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
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 National Cemetery is listed in the National Register, which describes it as follows:
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.
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.”
Beaufort National Cemetery Info
Address: 1601 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC 29902
Beaufort National Cemetery Map
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