WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — William Henry Chase Whiting was born in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1824. He would become an important, and contentious figure in Civil War history years later.
W.H.C., as he became known, attended West Point Military Academy in New York. He graduated with an engineering background in 1845 with the best scholastic record to date at the school. This achievement stood until Douglas MacArthur surpassed it sixty years later.
When war broke out, Whiting aligned himself with the rebels, having married a girl from Southport. A tempermental man, he developed many feuds with those he encountered in his rise through the ranks.
Jefferson Davis wanted him fired after he diliberately ignored his orders to organize the Confederate troops by state. Robert E. Lee saved Whiting's job, and had him assigned to Wilmington.
His signature task was designing the series of forts and batteries that would defend the Cape fear. This was hugely important to maintaining the Port of Wilmington.
From Fort Caswell to the imposing Fort Fisher, the Cape Fear held strong until the very end of the war; the last open port of the Confederacy.
Whiting himself found himself at the fall of Fort Fisher, and is said to have shouted, "Go to hell you Yankee bastards!"
He was then wounded, captured, and transported to New York.
He died just three months later, and was buried in Brooklyn before being transported to Wilmington years later.