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By 1862, Planter was serving as a dispatch boat and transport attached to the Confederate Army Department of Engineers at Charleston, South Carolina. It was during this service that Planter became famous, thanks to the heroic efforts of her pilot, [[Robert Smalls]].
 
By 1862, Planter was serving as a dispatch boat and transport attached to the Confederate Army Department of Engineers at Charleston, South Carolina. It was during this service that Planter became famous, thanks to the heroic efforts of her pilot, [[Robert Smalls]].
   
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Robert Smalls was a local South Carolina slave who was employed as the ship's harbor pilot at Charleston. Around 4:00 on May 13th, 1862, when her captain was absent and the ship was docked, Smalls untied her from the dock, raised a head of steam, and sailed past the succession of Confederate fortresses and gun emplacements guarding Charleston, with ''Planter's'' CSN colors flying. Despite the incredible risk, none of the fotrresses or emplacements seem to have challenged the ship, believing she was being dispatched on another mission. After his carefully calculated route had taken ''Planter ''out of the range of the last Confederate gun, Robert Smalls immediately hauled down the Confederate colors and raised a white flag of surrender. The ship was approached and taken into the possession of the US Navy by blockade clipper USS ''[[Onward]]''. The next day, ''Planter'' and her cargo were taken to Flag Officer Dupont at Port Royal, South Carolina.
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Robert Smalls was a local South Carolina slave who was employed as the ship's harbor pilot at Charleston. Around 4:00 on May 13th, 1862, when her captain was absent and the ship was docked, Smalls untied her from the dock, raised a head of steam, and sailed past the succession of Confederate fortresses and gun emplacements guarding Charleston, with ''Planter's'' CSN colors flying. Despite the incredible risk, none of the fotrresses or emplacements seem to have challenged the ship, believing she was being dispatched on another mission. After his carefully calculated route had taken ''Planter ''out of the range of the last Confederate gun, Robert Smalls immediately hauled down the Confederate colors and raised a white flag of surrender. The ship was approached and taken into the possession of the US Navy by blockade clipper USS ''[[USS Onward|Onward]]''. The next day, ''Planter'' and her cargo were taken to Flag Officer Dupont at Port Royal, South Carolina.
   
 
Here, it was discovered that Smalls had smuggled himself, the ship, four cannon, and a crew of slaves (seven crewmen, five women, and three children), to safety in the USN. The act was incredibly audacious, and gained the admiration of the world, with the story repeated in newspapers worldwide. It helped to reemphasize that slavery, and the struggle for or against its expansion, was core to the causes of the American Civil War and helped to lend moral legitimacy to the Union cause. For their heroism, Smalls and the crew were awarded the standard privateering reward of the era: half the value of the ship, plus cargo of artillery. Smalls and the slaves were granted their freedom. Smalls continued to serve as pilot for ''Planter ''during her service in the USN.
 
Here, it was discovered that Smalls had smuggled himself, the ship, four cannon, and a crew of slaves (seven crewmen, five women, and three children), to safety in the USN. The act was incredibly audacious, and gained the admiration of the world, with the story repeated in newspapers worldwide. It helped to reemphasize that slavery, and the struggle for or against its expansion, was core to the causes of the American Civil War and helped to lend moral legitimacy to the Union cause. For their heroism, Smalls and the crew were awarded the standard privateering reward of the era: half the value of the ship, plus cargo of artillery. Smalls and the slaves were granted their freedom. Smalls continued to serve as pilot for ''Planter ''during her service in the USN.

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