South of Hilton Head a mile or so across Calibogue Sound is Daufuskie Island, an island about the size of Sea Pines Plantation and with no bridge access. It is a storied place, subject of movies and TV specials (Conrack by Pete Conroy) and one of the last bastions of the Gullah culture and language. Daufuskie’s economic pattern has been much like that of Hilton Head Island, Indian trade, ships stores, indigo, King Cotton and now tourism, golf, second homes and retirement. But the two islands have not always seen eye to eye.
In the run up to the Revolutionary War, Daufuskie sided with the British. Hilton Head was firmly revolutionary and the two sides mounted their own naval assaults – more like a rowboat war, but still deadly. It was the Daufuskie Island Royal Militia verses the Blood Legion of South Carolina on Hilton Head. The latter would launch raids on “Little Bermuda”, as it was derisively called, which would retaliate in kind. Happily, relations between the islands have improved and Hilton Head Islanders and others can even play golf at one of the Melrose courses.