Sampling of North Carolina's Archaeological Sites
New Hanover County, NC
Fort Fisher, in New
Hanover County south of Wilmington, was the largest earthwork fortification
in the Confederacy and for four years (1861-65) played a vital role
in the Southern war effort. Located at Confederate Point (now called
Federal Point) the fort guarded the New Inlet entrance to the Cape
Fear River and kept the port of Wilmington open to the blockade-runners,
upon whom the Confederacy heavily relied to supply its armies. With
the fall of Fort Morgan on Mobile Bay in August, 1864, Fort Fisher
became the last important coastal fortification under Confederate
control. When the fort fell to Union forces on January 15, 1865
-- after the heaviest naval bombardment of land fortifications known
to that date -- the only remaining link between the already-doomed
Confederacy and the outside world was broken.
Since the end of the
Civil War, Fort Fisher has experienced substantial alteration, both
man-made and natural. During World War II, when the site again became
an active military post, the construction of a landing strip and
adjacent highway (US 421) destroyed part of the land face of the
L-shaped fort. More than one hundred years of erosion by sea and
wind has obliterated the corner bastion and much of the sea face.
Beginning in 1960, the State of North Carolina has acquired and
managed the site through direct purchase and lease from the Federal
Government. Though erosion remains a serious problem on the sea
face, portions of the land face of the fort have been cleared and
is open to the public.
Fort Fisher is now
a State Historic Site and has been listed in the National Register
of Historic Places. It is also a National Historic Landmark.
by: Dolores A.
Hall, NC Office of State Archaeology
by permission from the NEWSLETTER of the Friends of
North Carolina Archaeology, Inc., Winter 1987, Volume 3, Number 1.
© North Carolina Archaeological Society 1987
to ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES