Fort Fisher

This March, my wife and I were able to visit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site in North Carolina. The battles for Fort Fisher were part of the Union’s campaign to close the key port of Wilmington, NC. Blockade runners coming in and out of Wilmington helped sustain the Confederate economy and war effort during 1864-65. The fall of Fort Fisher in January 1865 crippled the Confederacy’s capacity to supply its armies.

I’m intrigued by the personalities involved in the various Civil War campaigns. The two battles for Fort Fisher bring together a number of characters, including Generals Braxton Bragg, W.H.C. Whiting, Benjamin Butler, Alfred Terry, and Adelbert Ames.

I’m currently reading Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher by Rod Gragg. Gragg’s account is very engaging, and I would recommend it. For additional information on the state historic site itself, please visit:

Please enjoy the pictures. I hope to build out this page over time.

Replica Armstrong Cannon
Ten percent of the fort’s traverses still stand. The ocean has claimed the eastern edge of the fort. WWII training also claimed a portion.
Reconstructed palisades protect the traverses as they would have in 1864.
Fort Fisher was a giant “L” with the bottom of the “L” facing North, and the long edge of the “L” facing East to the Atlantic. Only a portion of the “L” bottom remains.
Live Oak
This is an interior view facing West. The Cape Fear River protected the fort’s western flank. The land-facing traverses formed an East to West barrier from the ocean to the river.
View of Shepherd’s Battery from inside the fort
“Bloody Gate” from the Confederate point of view
“Bloody Gate” from the Union point of view

Union soldiers on the western edge had to wade through the marsh in order to reach the fort’s gate.
This is the exterior view of Shepherd’s Battery–the site of fierce fighting and the Union breakthrough.
Fort Fisher monument standing in what would have been the center of the fort

Fort Fisher monument standing in what would have been the center of the fort
Fort Fisher’s eastern traverses have been claimed by the ocean.

© 2019 Tyler Gaastra

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