Robert Smalls was born a slave in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1839. He learned how to navigate the waters around Charleston, SC as a slave worker on the river. During the Civil War, he bravely brought is young family and those of other slaves to the Union and freedom. Later in life, he was elected to the US House of Representatives.
Rebecca Dwight Bruff has written an historic novel, Trouble the Water, based on Robert Smalls' life. The links from this site will introduce you to the world that surrounded Robert Smalls.