Louisiana Native Guard Marker for Ship Island

From the Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi Sun-Herald:

Historical marker installation to honor Louisiana Native Guard

A new commemorative marker will soon tell the story of the historic significance of Ship Island to future generations.

On Sunday, the Louisiana Native Guard Sesquicentennial Committee and Ship Island Excursions of Gulfport, in association with the National Park Service’s Gulf Islands National Seashore, will host a commemorative event on Ship Island honoring the 150th anniversary of the 2nd Regiment, Louisiana Native Guard.

All are invited to the celebration and historical marker installation honoring the Native Guard, the regiment of black Union soldiers stationed at Ship Island during the Civil War.

The Native Guard launched an attack on Pascagoula on April 9, 1863, which became one of the first combat engagements by black Union troop in the Civil War. The Native Guard fought the Confederate troops and withdrew back to the island with prisoners and the Confederate flag.

These events were recounted in the book “Thank God my Regiment an African One: The Civil War Diary of Colonel Nathan W. Daniels,” by C.P. Weaver.

“I read the diaries and couldn’t believe it,” said Capt. Louis Skrmetta, CEO of Ship Island Excursions and member of the Historical Committee.

“We have Civil War history here not being told.”

Making a special appearance at the event will be United States and Mississippi Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, who once visited Ship Island and was inspired by the story of the Native Guard and wrote a book of poetry on the topic that earned a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Other special guests at the event will be Civil War historian Bennie McRea Jr. and National Park Service Superintendent Dan Brown.

“We have important Gulf Coast history that needs to be told,” Skrmetta said. “It’s important for us to remember this group that came out to Ship Island and fought.”

The celebration is presented by the Native Guard Commemoration Committee, JZ 94.5 and Ship Island Excursions. Boat tickets are available at http://www.msshipisland.com

The article provides details of Sunday’s activities and contact information.

Again, the USCT story is not being forgotten this go around.

Oh, how I love those seacoast settings.


One thought on “Louisiana Native Guard Marker for Ship Island

  1. I went to high school in Biloxi in the early 1970s. Ship Island was a popular excursion on weekends because the beaches were much nicer there. I don’t recall ever hearing about this aspect of its history. Could it be that no one thought it was important? (Say it ain’t so!)

    The photo also surprised me – I do not remember the water coming up to the walls of the fort. This looks like a seriously endangered site.

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