An illustration of a map of Robert Smalls' escape route, with his ship indicated leaving Charleston.

Robert Smalls

Episode #142

2020-06-19 12:10:59


On May 13, 1862, in Charleston, South Carolina, a man named Robert Smalls took command of a Confederate ship called The Planter and liberated himself and his family from enslavement. As they passed the Confederate-held Fort Sumter, Robert Smalls was said to have saluted it with a whistle, and then added an extra one, “as a farewell to the confederacy.”

Robert Smalls’ great-great-grandson, Michael Boulware Moore, tells the story.


Framed portraits of Robert Smalls and Hannah Smalls.

Robert and Hannah Smalls, courtesy of Michael Boulware Moore