Daufuskie Island was divided into eleven plantations at the start of the Civil War, varying in size from two hundred to eleven hundred acres. Plantations such as Melrose were self-contained with almost everything needed produced within the plantation. Very little was purchased. Heavy labor was handled by the slaves and plantation life was hard and mean. The slaves worked from “till to can’t.” The island was abandoned at the start of the Civil War and was subsequently occupied by Union soldiers. After the war freed slaves (Gullah) returned to the island where some lived in the old slave quarters and worked for landowners, while others purchased land and built small cabins of their own.