This weekend marks the 150th anniversary of the Union occupation of the port town of Beaufort, NC. As part of the Burnside Expedition, the occupation of this little town was of vital importance to the U.S. Navy's blockading efforts. Having already captured Roanoke Island and New Bern, the Federal forces began their push toward the coast and the protector of Beaufort Harbor, Fort Macon. Arriving at Beaufort in the pre-dawn hours of March 25, 1862 they found the town devoid of any Confederate forces. The town was occupied peacefully before most of the inhabitants were even awake. After the capitulation of Fort Macon a few weeks later, Beaufort became an important station for the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. For more on the town's role as such, see Dan Blair's article "One Good Port."
To commemmorate the occupation of Beaufort, the North Carolina Maritime Museum, along with other local historical organizations will host a weekend of activities this weekend centered around a living history program. Union infantry will occupy the grounds of the Beaufort Historical Association, artillery will perform demonstrations at a waterfront park, and sailors will take over the boat building facility at the Maritime Museum. An evening artillery demonstration will also take place at Fort Macon State Park on Saturday evening. For more information contact the NC Maritime Museum or visit their website.