Kure Beach, N.C.: The year 2014 marks the 149th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. To commemorate the anniversary of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher—the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War—Fort Fisher State Historic Site will host a living history program on January 18, 2014. Movie-goers may recall multiple references to the Battle of Fort Fisher from last year’s Steven Spielberg blockbuster “Lincoln,” a testament to the fort’s important role during the American Civil War.
Leading up to the state’s observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial next year, the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Fort Fisher State Historic Site will host “Always Near the Front, with Instruments & Tourniquets: The Medical Service at Fort Fisher,” a special living history program on January 18, 2014. This year’s anniversary commemoration will focus on the medical and healthcare available to the soldiers on both sides of the fighting during the January 1865 attack. Civil War re-enactors will set up displays and share various medical tools and discuss the care of the wounded, injured and sick soldiers. Infantry units will be on hand to demonstrate camp life, garrison duty and conduct the manual of arms and firing demonstrations. Artillery units will conduct drills and firing demonstrations of the Historic Site’s Rifled and Banded 32-pound cannon and the Site’s bronze 12-pound Napoleon cannon. Also onsite will be Civil War sutlers and an individual portraying a Civil War Photographer. Events begin at 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The public program is free. For more details, visit: http://tinyurl.com/FortFisherLivingHistoryWeekend
Fort Fisher’s new exhibit, “An Eminent Work of Justice and Charity,” will be dedicated at this year’s event. The exhibit will contain only the third Jewett Patent Leg known to be in existence. It will also include information concerning the care of the soldiers after the war and what was done to heal their wounds, both physical and mental.
Volunteers in period costume will bring history to life throughout the day and Civil War authors will be on hand to talk about their research and sign copies of their books. Ansley Wegner, author of Phantom Pain: North Carolina’s Artificial Limb Program for Confederate Veterans, will talk about North Carolina’s Artificial Limb program after the Civil War. Author Richard Triebe will talk about the North Carolina troops who were captured at Fort Fisher and sent to the Prisoner of War camp in Elmira, New York and their struggles to survive. He will also be available to sign copies of his book From Fort Fisher to Elmira and Confederate Fort Fisher: A Roster 1864-1865. Civil War historian and author Michael Hardy will also be part of the book signing and selling.
Fort Fisher’s programs afford visitors a wonderful opportunity to learn more about local history and Fort Fisher’s role in the Civil War. Fort Fisher, the largest earthen fortification in the Confederacy, once protected the port of Wilmington and the vital blockade running trade on the Cape Fear River. After two massive bombardments the fort fell to a Union infantry assault on January 15, 1865. With the capture of Fort Fisher, Wilmington’s port—the “Lifeline of the Confederacy”—was closed to foreign trade.
Fort Fisher State Historic Site is located in Kure Beach, just 20 miles south of Wilmington, at 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd. S., along US Highway 421. Visitors, residents, and motorists are advised of loud explosions during cannon firings and artillery demonstrations. Programming is made possible with the support of the Friends of Fort Fisher and its sustaining members. Fort Fisher is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. NCDCR event partners include the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art.
If your favorite pastime is exploring ‘past times,’ plan to visit Fort Fisher and other area attractions that interpret the region’s Civil War history, such as the Wilmington Railroad Museum, Bellamy Mansion Museum, and Cape Fear Museum of History and Science. The Blockade Runner Resort in Wrightsville Beach will host a Civil War-theme weekend package January 17-19 that includes a tour of the Fort Fisher Underwater Archaeology Unit. For a free Official Visitors Guide to Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, call 1-866-266-9690. For visitor information, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com