north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Marker Text:

Essay:
     On January 15, 1865, Fort Fisher, the last major fort on the east coast to remain open during the Union blockade, was taken by a combined Union Army-Navy assault. The forts at the mouth of the Cape Fear River were then evacuated and destroyed by the Confederates on the night of January 15/16. For one month the Confederates, commanded by Generals Braxton Bragg and Robert Hoke, managed to contain the Union forces at their beachhead near Fort Fisher and in lower Brunswick County at Smithville (modern Southport).

     Union General Jacob D. Cox was directed by Major General John M. Schofield, overall Union commander, to move up the west bank of the Cape Fear River and advance on Wilmington from the west. The primary obstacle before the town was Fort Anderson. Designed much like Fort Fisher, it boasted over a mile of earthen fortifications and artillery chambers in addition to batteries that guarded the water approach to the city. The fort also made use of the natural terrain, using swampland and ponds as moats and protective defenses along its battlements.

     Cox arrived in front of Fort Anderson on February 16, 1865. For two days the opposing forces engaged in heavy skirmishing. On the afternoon of February 18, a large Union force was marched around the head of Orton Pond to flank the Confederate stronghold. After a combined sea bombardment and land attack, the post was evacuated in the early morning hours of February 19, 1865. The Confederates then fell back to a prepared position at Town Creek. That position failed to hold and Wilmington fell on February 22 after the extensive naval stores contained in her warehouses were destroyed by retreating Confederates.


References:
Chris Fonvielle, Jr., The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope (1997)
Chris Fonvielle, Jr., Fort Anderson: Battle for Wilmington (1999)
Mark A. Moore, TThe Wilmington Campaign and the Battles for Fort Fisher (1999)
John B. Barrett, TThe Civil War in North Carolina (1963)
Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site website: http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/brunswic/brunswic.htm
Fort Fisher State Historic Site website: http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/fisher/fisher.htm
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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