March Haynes was born on March 4th, 1825. He was born in slavery and went on to work for slave owner John C. Rowland as a boat captain in Savannah, Ga. when he was sold in 1858. During the Civil War, Rowland went as a Confederate soldier to Fort Pulaski and brought Haynes along to work as an enslaved carpenter for the Confederates.
Unknown to most, one of the first Emancipation Proclamations took place at Fort Pulaski when General David Hunter declared slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina free. This came on May 9, 1862, but was later rescinded by Lincoln before the official Emancipation Proclamation was declared on Jan. 1, 1863. This directly affects Haynes because the tables turned as he became a free man and Rowland became a prisoner of war.
Haynes stayed at Fort Pulaski using his water skills to work the Underground Railroad for the Union force. He was a hero who rescued many on the Savannah waters, bringing them to safety past the Union lines. He worked tirelessly to help free others until he was shot in his leg fighting off six rebels in 1864 just after he officially became a part of The United States Colored Troops. After recovering, he resumed his deconship which he was a part of in a past life. He lived out the rest of his life working at the First African Baptist Church, the first of its kind in the United States.