The Civil War and Freedmen's Colony

A granite monument with the words "first light of freedom" inscribed
Fort Raleigh is part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

NPS/Kurt Moses

Centuries after the lost colony, Roanoke Island became home to a new colony, a Freedmen's Colony, which was established by the army to prepare the formerly enslaved people for life after the war. In February of 1862, the Battle of Roanoke Island left the Outer Banks under Union control, which made Roanoke Island a safe haven, a place of refuge for those who sought the protection of the Union Army. Although some freedom seekers continued their journey northward, many of the refugees remained on the island in the Freedmen's Colony that lasted until 1867.
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      Last updated: May 6, 2024

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      Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
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