In August of 1861, Union forces defeated Confederate batteries at Hatteras Inlet and at Forts Clark and Hatteras. Word of this victory spread quickly and prompted large numbers of enslaved people to escape from the mainland and Roanoke Island to freedom on Hatteras Island. Responsibility for sheltering and feeding these former enslaved people fell on the Union forces. Hotel De'Afrique was part of that provision. Hundreds of runaways arrived and in exchange for unloading supply vessels received food and housing. Many of these freedom seekers were able to provide strategic information regarding Confederate positions. This information led to Union victories. Hotel De'Afrique was the first contraband camp to be established by the military in North Carolina, therefore providing the first safe haven for freedom seekers in the state.
There were two sites for Hotel De'Afrique on Forts Clark and Hatteras. They have both since disappeared due to erosion and flooding. A monument was established to tell the story in April 2012.
The Hotel De'Afrique Monument is located at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a national park service site in Hatteras, North Carolina.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: Graveyard Atlantic Museum, 59200 Museum Dr, Hatteras, 27943
National Park Unit: Yes
Ownership: Barclay Trimble
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: Contraband