Diorama - Union Infantry Attack
A T T A C K O F A R M Y I N F A N T R Y F O R C E S
• 3:25 p.m. — As the Union naval column rushes toward the Northeast bastion, N. Martin Curtis yells a simple command: "Forward!" The First Brigade of Ames's division rises and attacks the western salient, running at full speed toward the great sand bastion.
Lamb's Confederates (under Maj. James Reilly) open fire with small arms, as rebel field artillery punishes the flanks of the attacking Federals.
Armed with heavy axes, and under a murderous fire, about 100 of Curtis's bluecoats begin chopping holes in the fort's palisades to make way for the infantry.... Cheering wildly, Union soldiers begin pouring through the gaps, as rebel artillery thunders over the causeway leading to the western sally port.
Many of the Federals become mired in the deep slough along the causeway, directly below Shepherd's Battery. They are punished unmercifully.
In the melee, a fiery N. Martin Curtis boards the fort, challenging his men to slay the enemy. Driven by sheer weight of numbers, the Federals pour over the crest of the battery. Shouting and cursing, the combatants of both sides club each other with their weapons and fists, and jab and slash with their bayonets.
The 117th New York plants its colors on the crest of Shepherd's Battery. By day's end, its fabric will be riddled with bullet holes.
• 3:35 p.m. — Pennypacker's Second Brigade joins the assault. And again, Southern artillery rakes the attackers with shell and canister....
• 4:00 p.m. — More than 4,000 Union troops are crowding the base, slopes, and walls of the western salient, and pouring onto the parade ground behind the fort. Lamb's Confederates are in serious trouble The port of Wilmington defended by Fort Fisher was the last Confederate port open. A previous attack by the Union had failed.
This is one of the exhibits at the Visitor's Center
The sign says:
THE BATTLE OF FORT FISHER
The brigade advanced to the charge, obliquing to the right so as to strike the sally port (that having been deemed the only vulnerable point of the work), and after a desparate struggle the advance of the brigate reached the parapet of the fort and scaled it to the first travere... The great confusion consequent upon the peculiar character of the assault, and the confined position of the troops on the parapet, render a more particular report of the progress of the brigade after reaching the work impossible.
--Col. Rufus Daggett, commanding the First Brigade, Second Division (Ames's) XXIV Army Corps.
At the very outset of the attack, while rapidly forming my regiment for the charge on the works, I was severely wounded on the right shoulder. Notwithstanding this I continued in the fight from first to last, about seven hours, having secured a lodgement in the northwest angle of the fort. With a few others of my regiment, I advanced from traverse to traverse...having been in very close contact with the enemy during the whole time, and in several hand-to-hand encounters with them.
--Lt. John Wainwright, 97th Pennsylvania Infantry, Medal of Honor recipient at Fort Fisher
Beach at Oak Island
You can take the ferry across to Oak Island and stay either on the island or at Southport.
We prefer to stay at Oak Island.
It is not so built up like Mrytle Beach and there are plenty of seashells on the beach for the kids.
Kure Beach, North Carolina
"Fort Fisher/North Carolina Aquarium"
Hours & Fees
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily year-round
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day
Seniors & Active Military: $6
Children: Ages 6-17: $5
5 and under: FREE
North Carolina Aquarium Society members: FREE
North Carolina school groups that register in advance: FREE
Christmas Eve Day
Admission fees support maintenance, operations, and development of new exhibits to maintain an exciting and educational experience for Aquarium visitors.
Second Visit to Fort Fisher - March 2005
We missed the 4 pm ferry by about 10 minutes, so we paid our $5 and waited for the one at 4:45. We were second in line behind a dump truck hauling a back hoe on a trailer. We were put next to him, and my side of the car was so close to the next car that I could not open my door.
I wanted to take some more pictures of Price Creek lighthouse, so when the ferry got underway, Bob got out and I crawled across the drivers seat and got out that side. He said I'd have to walk off the ferry and get in after we got across.
There was a road block on the road from the ferry. I hadn't fastened my seat belt yet after I walked off the ferry and got in the car, so I did it up before we got there. They wanted to see Bob's license - it is always a struggle for him to get his wallet out of his pocket when he's sitting down, but they gave it a glance and then said OK - go on.
We found the envelope and key in front of the rental office (it is only open from 10 to 2) and got to our cottage. It has 3 bedrooms and two baths, 2 TVs, and a full kitchen, plus a garage!! I got a cottage because they have phones and the other smaller rooms do not.
Bob unloaded everything out of the rental car, and then we went out to get dinner. Kure Beach is deserted and we have to drive all the way to Carolina Beach to get something to eat.
We ate at Barnacles - Bob had a steak, with mushrooms and baked potato and I had country chicken pasta, which was noodles with broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, bacon and chicken strips on top. I couldn't eat much of it and brought it back to the cottage.
"March 4th - Friday"
We have to drive back to Charleston and pick up the car, return the rental car and get back here. The first ferry is 6:15 am, but that's just too early. I think we will take the 7:45 one, and I hope we can get back here before the last ferry from Southport which is at 6:15. It took us about 5 hours to get here from Charleston yesterday.
I decided that we'd get the next ferry at 7:45, so I set the clock radio for 7. But Bob was concerned that there would be a lot of commuters and given our time schedule that we wouldn't get on this ferry and would have to wait until the next one, so he said we'd have to leave the house by 7:15. We didn't wait for the alarm to go off to get up and we did get to the ferry stop before 7:30, and there was hardly anyone there.
It was cold, so I took most pictures from inside the car. I did get out to take some more pictures of Price Creek light, and the ferry was shuddering so violently at that point that it has jittered the lighthouse half out of one of the pictures. (It was zoomed so that's not as bad as it sounds.)
The tide was really low (Bob said low was at 8:30) so the ramp up to the land was quite steep. We drove back up through Southport, and got fuel at a Kangaroo station about 9. It was just a little after 11:30 that we got to the MB place, and paid. That was about 4 hours from the ferry embarkation. The MB place washed the car (and may have waxed) the car and vacuumed it, but they also put Bob's non retractable antenna down. He pulled it up and it still seems to work.
I drove the MB following Bob back to the base, but it didn't seem to have much pep - I had trouble keeping up with Bob and people kept getting between us, but I did manage to follow him when he made the wrong turn into the Sears parking lot even though he was three cars ahead of me.
We got to the base, he fueled up the rental car, and turned it in. They charged us for 2 days plus one hour (the hour was $10). Then Bob went to the commissary, and got a sandwich and I cashed in the coupon I'd gotten for filling in a questionnaire for a piece of pizza and some cheese sticks.
We were underway about 1:30 and we went over I-529 and hit US 17 in Mt. Pleasant instead of going all the way down Dorchester. I called our son and told him how we were doing.
The next to last ferry is 4:45, and I am pretty sure we will not be able to make that one. The last Southport ferry is 6:15. We have to make that one.
We saw three or four people riding down the median of the highway against traffic on bikes. I don't know exactly why they would do that - there is a bike path on the correct side of the road. My digital camera started to get low on battery, and the extra battery was in my vest pocket back at the cottage, so I started to take film pictures instead.
Bob tried the cruise control for the first time, and it ran away with him, and would not shut off even when he put on the brakes. He had to pull off the road and stop. He said that it was jammed all the way on. He pulled it out and it seems to be working now. He also moved the throttle linkage around because he also had found it sluggish.
We missed the 4:45 ferry by about half an hour, but were in plenty of time for the 6:15 one. Bob ate the rest of his sandwich. I tried to take some more digital pictures of the lighthouse at dusk, but the ferry engines made my body vibrate so much I couldn't hold the camera still enough for a time shot. The tide was low again.
We went back to the cottage (no roadblock this time), and I ate my last night's dinner for dinner.
"March 5th - Bob's birthday."
Since the check in/out office didn't open until 10, I figured we didn't have to get up early. Bob was up until 2 am coughing, so he's a bit cranky and slow. As he picks up the glass part of the coffee pot, the part around the handle breaks. So he heats the water for his tea on the stove. He says he doesn't want to risk the microwave.
Bob packed stuff back in the car, and it was still only about 9. I checked our route on the mapping software. Then, I persuaded him to drive over there about 9:45 as I thought there would be a lot of other people checking in.
We told them about the coffeepot, and they said they wouldn't charge us for it. We paid and left.
We do not have very far to go today. Only about 110 miles and check-in time is 4 pm. But we're both sleepy and it is cold.
First we go to Fort Fisher which is free. Fort Fisher was a key fort in the Civil War and kept the port of Wilmington NC open for blockade runners far into the war. Bob says that he does not remember doing any history at the USNA and especially not any on the Civil War. He didn't realize that this fort was such a big deal.
We walked through the museum which has a number of nice dioramas, and a big map with lights on it narrating the various parts of the battle. We also saw the film about the fort. They do not do the guided tour on Saturday.
The fort has on display the Armstrong Cannon. This was an 150 pound English cannon. When the Federal troops captured the fort, they took the cannon to USMA and displayed it at Trophy Point for many years. The State of NC negotiated to get it back. It is now in a fortified locked enclosure.
It was cold, so we just looked at some of the fort from the visitor's center and took a picture of the monument to the Confederate dead.
Then we drove out to Battery Buchanan which was on the point. There were a lot of guys kite surfing. Some of them would come up out of the water by what looked like 10 feet!! I took some more pictures, and then we turned around and drove up toward Wilmington.
And then onward to Wrightsville Beach
First Visit to Fort Fisher
Ft. Fisher is a recreation area that is connected with an AFB nearby. It is out beyond Carolina Beach and Kure (pronounced 'curry') Beach. We crossed the Snow's Cut bridge (didn't see anyone in the waterway), and drove down the peninsula - pretty much a deserted beach town.
Ft. Fisher personnel had said they would leave us a packet with the key on the door, and they did - along with a map. We had a bit of a problem at first because we were looking for a building number and the building was named rather than numbered and we thought it was a club or something.
We were in a suite in the back which had a living room with a kitchenette, and a bathroom and a bedroom with another kitchenette. There wasn't anyone else staying there that we could see - there were 6 rooms and one other suite. They also have cabins that sleep 8 or 10.
We had to drive back up the road to find a restaurant that was open, and stopped at El Zarape all the way back in Carolina Beach which was about the first place we saw. Bob had tacos, and I had a quesidilla, and we both had fried ice cream. Total $23.77 before the tip.
There was a little boy there whose name was Carson - they were from Mt. Airy NC - they said it was a family name.
"December 6, 2004 - Monday"
The note on our packet said to please check in in the morning, so we had to wait until 10. I had some bagels and juice for breakfast, and we left just before 10. The room was $40.
If we had hurried, we might have been able to get the 10 o'clock ferry, but Bob did not realize that there was one at 10. In any case, we got to the ferry dock as the ferry was pulling out. This ferry is $5.00
We were, of course, first in line. I went and took some pictures of the dock. It looked like they were dredging the Cape Fear River and it was very shallow where the ferries were. Bob said the ferry was going very slowly - even though they can operate in about 5 feet of water, it still looked very shallow.
The day was somewhat overcast and looked like rain. They finally loaded us onto the ferry, and this ferry did not turn around like the others did. I don't know if it backs all the way to Southport, or if the ferry is just double ended.
I tried to take a photo of the Oak Island light with the light flashing in my direction.
We saw again the brick kiln-like building, and one of the men on the ferry said that was the old Price Creek lighthouse. So I took some photos.
Next: Going by Barefoot Landing and having lunch in Myrtle Beach on the way to Charleston