The Beaufort Library Society Collection is Confiscated
The Collection is confiscated by the Federal government tax collectors, saved by the Secretary of the Treasury, and stored at the Smithsonian Institution.
By 1860, the library's collection included more than 5,000 volumes, about half of which donated by Beaufortonians who had purchased them on voyages to Europe. The books covered many subjects, from government to sciences, from law to literature, and from philosophy to religion -- as well as general works, like the Encyclopædia Britannica. Thus by the time of the Civil War, "The Beaufort Library [had] gathered one of the finest book collections in the South." (Rowland et al., vol.1, p. 287) During the Civil War, the Union Army confiscated the Beaufort Library Collection. All of the books were sent to New York City for auction as rebel property. Public outcry in the North was so fervent that Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase intervened, saying, "The Union does not make war on libraries."
Image: Is the official handbill for the auction of “rebel property” (i.e., the books of the Beaufort Library Society) that was reproduced with permission from The State newspaper magazine issue of March 20, 1955.