Gray’s 1880 New Map of Beaufort, shows "Atlantic Hotel Lot" on the waterfront between Pollock and Marsh Streets. Today that block includes the Beaufort Post Office (Beaufort Town Hall) along with the Duncan, Jones and Wheatley Houses.
|Gray's 1880 Map|
In her 1991 book The Atlantic Hotel, Virginia Pou Doughton wrote, "When the hotel was taken over by the Federal troops, according to Doughton, the War Department requested seven Sisters of Mercy chosen from St. Catherine’s Convent in New York. They were ordered to proceed to Beaufort and were accompanied by physician Dr. John Upham. At the time of their arrival there were many sick and wounded soldiers in the hotel. “The conditions were deplorable; blood and filth covered the whole structure.” The Sisters were soon put in charge, getting rid of the barefoot overseer whose “hair was matted and his scraggly beard stained with tobacco juice….constantly sitting in a wheelbarrow near the door…with a huge bunch of keys dangling from his belt.” The Sisters “performed miracles in cleaning up this filthy, foul-smelling, vermin-ridden building into the clean and sanitary Hammond Hospital. The hospital closed in the fall of 1862."
"All communication between Beaufort and Fort Macon is cut off. The first act of the professed Union savers, upon their entrance into the town, was the seizure of a vacant private dwelling house belonging to a widow residing in the town, a barrack for their soldiers. Without ascertaining from the owner whether they could get the keys or not, they broke open the door, took possession of the premises, and hoisted the United States flag over the roof of the house.....
"The next act of outrage upon private rights, was the seizure of the Atlantic Hotel in Beaufort, the property of Capt. Pender. In this building was a great deal of valuable furniture. Capt. Pender was absent on private business. Mrs. Pender had lately died. The building was occupied by a lady who remained there in charge of three of Mrs. Pender's children, infants of tender years. The building was entered by officers, soldiers and negroes and robbed of all its most valuable furniture which was carried off....."
In May 1864, Rumley again wrote of the U.S. hospital, "A frightful mortality prevails among the unfortunate women and children who fled to this place on the evacuation of Washington [NC]. Every morning, for a fortnight past, from four to six corpses could be seen in the dead house at the U.S. Hospital (formerly the Pender Hotel) where three or four hundred of these unhappy exiles have been crowded together. Grave diggers and coffin makers are constantly at work. Measles and pneumonia are the chief diseases."
In Beaufort's African-American History and Architecture, historic preservation consultant Peter B. Sandbeck wrote, “Beaufort’s importance as a center for former slaves grew and by 1865 the town was home to 3,245 refugees, making it North Carolina’s second largest center behind New Bern. The refugee camp seems to have been known as “Union Town,” a name which continued to be used to describe the town’s black section until at least the late nineteenth century. Several elderly residents still relate the tradition that there is a Union burying ground located in the heart of the “Union Town” neighborhood, at the southeast corner of Pine and Marsh streets, used as a cemetery for the soldiers who died at Hammond Hospital located in the old Front Street House hotel on Front Street.”
In Beaufort by the Sea, Memories of a Lifetime, Neal Willis (1917-2004) wrote, “There was a cemetery on the corner of Pine and Marsh Streets. It was a corner lot, grown up with tall weeds and small scrub oak trees. There was an old wooden fence around it and we could see headstones inside. Most were wood. I passed there many times when I was growing up. We all thought it was an old burying ground for colored people. It was news to me when I read in the newspaper that it was used for burial of Confederate soldiers.” Any signs of this cemetery have nearly disappeared.