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Civil War Lecture: Robert Smalls and CSS Planter

November 9 @ 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

FREE with $1 Museum admission

On the evening of May 13, 1862, enslaved wheelman Robert Smalls disguised himself as CSS Planter’s  captain and slipped past five Confederate forts to surrender to the Union blockade ship USS Onward off Charleston, S.C. He took his family and several other crew members’ families behind Union lines to help attain their freedom. Smalls then served the Union as a pilot on Planter as well as on other ships such as the ironclad USS Keokuk. After the war he served three terms in Congress and was one of South Carolina’s leading African American citizens until his death in 1915.

The lecture will be held in a classroom in the Monitor Center. Reserving a seat is suggested as seating is limited.



November 9
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Event Category:


The Mariners’ Museum
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606 United States
(757) 596-2222