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Roanoke Island Freedom Colony Memorial

Roanoke Island Freedom Colony, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is located on Roanoke Island, Dare County, NC. In 1862, under the command of General Ambrose E. Burnside, Union forces took control of the Outer Banks with the battle of Roanoke Island, and used the captured land to provide protection and freedom for escaped slaves. Word quickly spread throughout the South that if the slaves could make their way to Roanoke Island, they would find a safe haven from their masters behind Union lines. The number of "contraband" grew to exceed available housing and to remedy the situation, General John G. Foster appointed the Rev. Horace James an army chaplain from Massachusetts, to establish a camp for the runaways. During the Colony's existence, many runaway slaves perished from wounds received while fighting in the War as well as illnesses and disease. These slaves were buried in mass graves within the grounds now designated as Memorial Garden, as were many freedmen who went on to establish residency on Roanoke Island.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: Old County Road & Airport Road, Manteo, 27959

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Dare County, NC Norma Mills

Location Type: Site