Naval Hospital Beaufort was opened in 1949 on 127 acres of land. Historically, the site was formerly the John Joiner Smith Plantation that included Camp Saxton, a Civil War garrison, and Fort Frederick, both recognized as National Historical sites. The earliest federally authorized black unit to fight for the Union, the First South Carolina Volunteers, was camped at this site. On January 1, 1863, General Rufus Saxton assembled a large populace for one of the earliest readings of the Emancipation Proclamation. An annual reenactment of the reading is held at the Camp Saxton site, along with a Civil War encampment both of which are enjoyed by members of our staff and the local community.
Fort Frederick was built by the English in 1735 to protect Beaufort from the Native Americans in the area and the Spaniards to the south. Today, the remains of its walls stand within the Naval Hospital compound as a duly designated historical monument. During the Civil War, the site became a garrison named Camp Shaw. The present hospital replaced the Naval Hospital Parris Island which was open from 1891 through May 1, 1949. Naval Hospital Beaufort was commissioned on April 29, 1949, and the first patient was admitted on May 5, 1949.
Naval Hospital Beaufort consists of the hospital and two Branch Health Clinics - one at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island and the other at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Beaufort. Located within the grounds of the Naval Hospital Beaufort are privatized family housing single-story units, Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, a Navy Exchange Retail store, Gas Station/Mini Mart and Navy Federal Credit Union. Recreational facilities include a softball field, swimming pool, racquetball
and basketball courts, outdoor fitness course, a gym, fishing pier, and a children's playground.
Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical and urgent care services to all active duty Navy and Marine Corps personnel, as well as retired military personnel and all military dependents residing in the Beaufort area, a total population of approximately 35,000 beneficiaries.