Fort Fisher State Historic Site — Summer, 2019 Events

Friday, July 12, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves — ‘Attention Cannoneers’ a kid-friendly family activity in which participants learn about Civil War artillery and the skills needed to protect blockade runners. Using the site’s 12-pound bronze Napoleon field piece, costumed interpreters will be on hand to explain the field artillery drill.

Saturday, July 13, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series “Running the Blockade: The Technology and the men of the Lifeline of the Confederacy” as presented by noted historian, author, and Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at UNC Wilmington, Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.

Friday, July 19, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Archaeology: Digging through the Past,” a kid-friendly family event, designed to introduce young participants to basic archaeology techniques with emphasis on the fun–and reward–of digging in the dirt. Explore the history of Fort Fisher through educational and hands-on activities that convey the history of Fort Fisher.

Saturday, July 20, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series – “Federal Point Lighthouses” as presented by Fort Fisher interpreter, Becky Sawyer. By the late 18th century, the residents of the Lower Cape Fear River petitioned Congress for a needed navigational marker to assist ships entering New Inlet. For the next 100 years, a navigational lighted beacon was used on the tip of Federal Point to help these ships traverse the channel of New Inlet.

Friday, July 26, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Art of the Sailor.” Participants will see how rope played a vital role in the life of a Civil War sailor, as it was used to anchor the ship, control sails, moor the vessel, and hoist materials on board. Come have some fun and learn some basic knots and other secrets of the Civil War sailor.

Saturday, July 27, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series – “Tending to the Soldiers: Wilmington’s Civil War Hospitals,” as presented by noted historian and author, Wade Sokolosky. During the Civil War, soldiers on garrison duty and wounded from southern battlefields arrived in Wilmington for treatment. Spread throughout the Port City were numerous general military hospitals and wayside hospitals near the railroads.

Friday, August 2, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Secret Codes and Ciphers,” a kid-friendly family activity. Ensuring your message reached its intended recipient accurately often meant the difference between victory or defeat. Today, we encrypt information to protect it from harm. Learn the encryption tools used during the 1860s and encrypt your own messages using codes and cipher disks that you can take home for domestic communication.

 Saturday, August 3, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series — “Timothy O’Sullivan and the Photographing of Fort Fisher.” In February 1865, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan was sent to Fort Fisher to record the massive fortification. He created a photographic record of the earthworks and remnants of the January 15th battle. Join us as local photographer, Harry Taylor, discusses Timothy O’Sullivan and the wet plate photography process.

Friday, August 9, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Junior Reserves – “Civil War Communications,” a kid-friendly family activity. How did Civil War units send messages over large distances without texting or cell phones? During the Civil War, both sides used the same signaling system called ‘Wig-Wag’ for its movement of a flag. Learn to send the 1860s version of text messages by flag.

Saturday, August 10, 2019, 10 am – 2 pm: Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series — “Attempting to Stop Sherman: The Battle of River’s Bridge, SC,” as presented by Mr. Jim Steele, site manager of Fort Fisher State Historic Site. In February, 1865, Confederate forces in South Carolina attempted to stop the Federal Army marching to Columbia.