Sunday January 18th – 9 am to 5 pm
The program will span two days and will be packed with events, Civil War re-enactors, speakers, tours and vendors. This year’s theme will look at the sacrifice made by both sides and the recognition by veterans of the fight that there was “glory enough for all” to go around during the second attack on Fort Fisher in January 1865.
An official opening observance is scheduled for 11:00 am on Saturday prior to the battle tactical. It will feature National Park Service Historian Emeritus Ed Bearss and selected State officials. A closing commemoration will be following the Sunday morning tactical.
During the day on Saturday and Sunday, Civil War Era music will be provided by The Shanty Men and The Huckleberry Brothers.
During the weekend, Fort Fisher State Historic Site will feature national and local historians and authors covering topics varying from North Carolina’s soldiers in the Civil War, the African-American experience in the Civil War, the attacks on Fort Fisher, Fort Fisher’s role in the Wilmington Campaign and Fort Fisher’s role in the end of the Confederacy.
Confirmed speakers scheduled for Saturday and Sunday are Ed Bearss, Rod Gragg, Chris Fonvielle, Michael Hardy, Jamie Martinez, and Richard Triebe. The authors have been invited to remain at the site during the program to meet the public and sign copies of their books.
Conducted only once every five years, over 300 re-enactors are scheduled to give spectators an idea of what the scene might have looked the afternoon of January 15, 1865.
The battle reenactment will start promptly at 1:30 pm on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday. Viewing positions for the spectators will be indicated due to need for safety of the spectators.
Before and after the battle-tactical program, the United States Marine Corps Historical Company will be across US 421 South in the grove of trees adjacent to the ocean. They will be discussing the role of the US Marine Corps in the attack on Fort Fisher. They will be conducting the 1860 Marine Corps drill and conducting firing demonstrations. During the weekend, they will also be illustrating the process for loading and firing a bronze 6-pound cannon. This is a non-firing demonstration and will include opportunities for pictures and hands-on learning.
During the day on Saturday and Sunday, there will be kid’s activities conducted on the south airstrip. The activities will include learning about being a soldier, signal flags and chippers and codes. A demonstration of the Confederate Torpedo service and how it protected the Cape Fear River and was suppose to protect Fort Fisher will be conducted on the Fort’s land face.
After the battle tactical on Sunday, artillery and infantry units will be on hand to talk with visitors about camp life, garrison duty and conduct the manual of arms and firing demonstrations.
The artillery will consist of the Historic Site’s Rifled and Banded 32-pound cannon and the Site’s bronze 12-pound Napoleon cannon. The schedule will alternate between the infantry and Artillery drill. Also on site will be Harry Taylor, who will be available to take wet plate photography as well as many Civil War sutlers (merchants.)
Fort Fisher State Historic Site will also be dedicating a new exhibit called “Colonel Lamb: Guardian Angel of Blockade Runners.” This exhibit will look at Col. William Lamb’s role in constructing Fort Fisher to protect the Confederacy’s blockade running ships and the Port of Wilmington.
The program is free and open to the public.
The site encourages visitors to arrive early to allow time for a trolley departure from the event parking lot at the Air Force Recreation Base, which is just north of Fort Fisher State Historic Site on US Hwy 421.
All Fort Fisher programming is made possible with the support of the Friends of Fort Fisher and its sustaining members. The Friends of Fort Fisher is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing this national treasure.