Beaufort Arsenal – 3 Craven Street, Beaufort SC

Built in: 1795
Rebuilt in: 1852

Construction of the Beaufort Arsenal was begun in 1795 and completed by 1799. The authorization by the state legislature in 1795 stated: “And be it further enacted, that General Barnwell, Thomas Grayson, and Ralph Elliott, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners, and by virtue of this act, are fully authorized and empowered to purchase a lot or piece of land, and to erect and build thereon, at the old courthouse in the town of Beaufort, a magazine capable of containing a hundred thousand weight of gun powder and a thousand stand of arms, to enclose the same with a substantial brick wall;….” Construction was entrusted to Col. Thomas Talbird. The building had deteriorated substantially by 1852, when the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery Company rebuilt the complex “on the foundation of the old Arsenal a building capable of accommodating a garrison of 250 men and a battery of six guns.” The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery was organized in April, 1775 and is the fifth oldest military unit in the United States. It has taken part in every war fought by this nation, including the Revolutionary War. For years it was housed in or connected with the Beaufort Arsenal. The building was enlarged and renovated in a 1934 WPA project. The Beaufort Museum occupied one of the wings and the National Guard occupied the main building. The city-owned Beaufort Museum now occupies the entire site. The two brass trophy guns in the yard were captured from the British in 1779 and seized by Union soldiers at the fall of Fort Walker in 1861. They were returned to Beaufort after 1880.

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