The Charleston Museum is continuing its commemoration of the Sesquicentennial
of the Civil War with “Our Duty was Quite Arduous”: The Union Encampment on Little Folly Island, 1863- 1865
This original exhibition presents Civil War artifacts recovered by Charleston Museum archaeologists from the beach of “Little Folly Island.” Accelerated erosion caused by Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 uncovered a wealth of materials from the Federal presence there during the Civil War. Most were remarkably preserved and now provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Union soldiers, including the 55th and 54th Massachusetts, garrisoned on Folly Island. The following is information about the archaeological digs behind the exhibition.
The Folly North Archaeological Project, 1990
Archaeology at the north end of Folly Island, a barrier island just south of the Charleston harbor, began with reports by two concerned citizens of artifacts and bones on the beach. A remarkable array of organic artifacts – leather shoes, rubberized canvas, wood staves, animal bone – were preserved in the pluff mud and exposed by the daily tides. Moreover, these artifacts were disappearing daily. State and Federal agencies were notified, and archaeologists from the Charleston Museum volunteered to excavate and preserve a sample of the materials. Professional archaeologists from across the state and volunteers from local communities assisted with the work.