Fort Sherman

38BU1156

Port Royal Plantation

Construction of this fifteen acre fortification began in 1861.  Located on the old Coggins Point Plantation, the fort was named in honor of Brigadier General Thomas West Sherman (no relation to General William Tecumseh Sherman).

"Trees were felled, heavy logs were driven into the sandy soil at angles checked by the Corps of Engineers, then boarded across with heavy, rough planks quickly cut from local timber by the three sawmills brought along with the fleet.  Since the sand and earth were then piled high over these wooden barricades,.....moats were dug before the high earthen walls and water introduced by ditches and swales from island lagoons and creeks.  Very quickly the water became scummy and malodorous, a breeding place for mosquitoes infected with malaria and yellow fever, a habitation of poisonous snakes and frogs.  Even alligators took up residence....Fort Sherman became a rehearsal for Fort Howell and Fort Mitchell.

....on 26 September 1864 General Order #139, Headquarters, Department of the South, Hilton Head, S.C. had been promulgated by W.L.M. Burger, Assistant Adjutant General by command of Major General John G. Foster, 'The works within the entrenchments at Hilton Head will be known as Fort Sherman, after Brigadier General Thomas W. Sherman, US Volunteers, formerly commanding this department."

Islander Magazine, April 1976;  Robert E.H. Peeples

So odious remains the name of William T. Sherman that it is necessary to remind island visitors that Fort Sherman, a 15 acre earthen work fortification begun in 1861 on Coggins Point Plantation, was not named for him, but for Brig. Gen. Thomas West Sherman, whose lack of determination, indecision and poor judgement have caused him to be designated one of the worst general officers ever commissioned by the United States.  He arrived on Hilton Head November 7, 1861as first commander of the Department of the South.

Peeples, An Index of Hilton Head Island Names (Before the Contemporary Development), p.16



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