Fort Fisher, North Carolina
December 1864, three and a half years of war
and murdered the youth of nineteenth century America. Women widowed,
orphaned, and family bloodlines severed for all of eternity as the
Civil War continued to destroy the fragile lands of the Confederate
The Confederate Army has courageously fought the Federal
trying desperately to stem the tide of defeat looming over their once
dreams of independence. Out manned and out gunned by the industrious
their only means of supply was via seafaring trade with England and
The Federal blockade of the southern ports was exacting its intended
depriving the south of weapons, gold, and medicine. Blockade runners,
outfitted for speed to outrun the federal navy, has but one port left
in which to take to sea for the mercy trade missions; Wilmington, North
Carolina. The stronghold keeping this port alive was Fort Fisher.
South of Wilmington, is a peninsula of land between the
Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. At the point of this peninsula is
Fisher. Contemporary in its design, it was the only Confederate battery
left to defend the only open port of the Confederacy. Constructed from
mounds of earth and wood, this odd design was able to absorb the
from the explosive shells anticipated from the Federal navy.
On December 7, 1864, the Federal navy under Adm. David
Porter began a bombardment of the fort for twenty days. Last minute
reinforcements under Maj. Gen. Robert Hoke discouraged hopes for a
The resolve of the Federal forces were
when they began their second expedition against the fort on January 13,
1865. For two days the navy pounded the earthen fort while infantry
the ground attack.. Low on food and ammunition, the Confederates fought
valiantly, but surrendered on the 15th.
Very little of the fort remains today. Time and
elements have been unforgiving to this landmark. One can still walk
the inside of the walls, which resemble little more than large dirt
If you stand upon the parapets during low tide, under the right
you can still see the skeletons of the blockade runners; in eternal
beneath the waves.
It is said that on certain evenings, the ghostly
of a Confederate officer can be seen looking over the parapets toward
sea. Some claim him to be the ghost of Gen. William Whiting, commander
of the fort, who was wounded during the attack and later died in a
prison camp. Visitors have claimed to hear footsteps along the wooden
inside the walls when the fort is vacant of other tourists.
Although the legends are abundant, the fact remains that
thousand men lost their lives while trying to take and defend the fort.
If ever in the area of Wilmington, North Carolina, a visit to this
landmark will touch one’s soul as this little area of land reverberates
with the emotions of a generation of hopes.