Fort Fisher is one of the most visited historical sites in North Carolina. During the Civil War its job was to protect blockade runners containing supplies for the Confederacy en route to Wilmington, NC. The fall of this Fort in 1865 was the event that opened the way for the Union victory.
Today, the Fort Fisher visitor center has an exhibit hall that details the battles and presents the history of the fort. A half-mile outdoor tour trail takes you through the lasting remains of part of the fort. Visitors may enjoy the scenic views of both the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean as they explore the site.
Whether you are a “history buff” or not, a visit to Fort Fisher is a great way to spend a day. Explore the museums at Fort Fisher State Park, take a guided tour of the Fort, witness Civil War history, or take self guided walk through the scenic trail right by the water. Go back in time and experience a monumental part of American history.
To get there from downtown Wilmington: take U.S. 421 south through Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Fort Fisher will be on the right just south of Kure Beach.
Fort Fisher was the “Last Major Stronghold of the Confederacy,” and the scene of the two largest naval bombardments of the Civil War. At the beginning of the American Civil War the Confederacy took control of a part of land in southern North Carolina near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and constructed what was to become the largest and most important earthwork fort in the South. The official website states that: “Ft. Fisher kept Wilmington’s port open to blockade runners supplying necessary goods to Confederate armies inland… this was the last remaining supply route open to Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. When Ft. Fisher fell after a massive Federal assault on January 15, 1865, its defeat helped seal the fate of the Confederacy.”
- Location: New Hanover County, North Carolina
- Dates: January 13 – 15, 1865
- Union Commander: Alfred H. Terry, David Dixon Porter
- Confederate Commander: Braxton Bragg, Robert F. Hoke
- Forces Engaged: 9,632 Union; 1,900 Confederate
- Estimated Casualties: 1,341 Union; 583 Confederate
- Result: Union Victory
- A tour trail with 12 exhibits throughout the remnants of historic Fort Fisher. Trail has gorgeous views of the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean.
- Shepherds Battery: This restored gun emplacement features a reconstructed, fully operational, heavy seacoast cannon. This is fired for the public during special events.
- Fiber-Optic Battle Map: This audiovisual map gives the history of the battle at Fort Fisher.
- There are several exhibits that display all the history and information you could ever want to know about Fort Fisher. Everything is covered from the soldier’s lives at the Fort to the weapons that were used in the battles. Some of these individual exhibits are: Blockade-Runners, Fort Construction, Weapons and Technology, Preparing to Fight, The First Assault, The Second Assault, and The Ladies of Ft. Fisher.
- Numerous notable artifacts from the Civil War are on display inside the museum.
The visitor center hours are 9-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. You can take your own time and go on a self guided tour; however, if you would prefer a guided tour, these are given daily as well. Monday- Saturday: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Sunday: 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. There is no admission fee. Call (910-458-5538) more information.