The Fort Fisher historic site is a quiet place where tourists and locals alike come for a history lesson. More than 140 years ago, a battle raged here, where Confederate troops fought, and lost, protecting the last major coastal stronghold for the Confederacy. "When it was captured, that closed the foreign trade route for the south,” explained Fort Fisher Historical Interpreter Amy Thornton. “And so when it was captured, trade ended for the south, and within ninety days the Civil War was over." Nicknamed the Gibraltar of the Confederacy, Fort Fisher was built at the start of the Civil War. Two battles were fought here. The first failed Union attempt to capture the fort was in 1864, but the Union army launched a massive attack by water in January of 1865, and the mighty Fort Fisher fell. "The second battle of Fort Fisher involved a three day bombardment. This was the largest naval bombardment, not just of the Civil War, but any war up until World War I," said Thornton. Even though its cannons and rolling hills tell a story of days past, here, history is alive. Re-enactor Randolph Sawyer said, "My family played a big part here to keep the south free for what they thought was right." Re-enactors, like Sawyer, commemorate the landmark battle; firing the canons, and keeping true to the bravery of his three ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. "It gives you an idea of what they had to wear, and what they had to do. We camp like they did, and it gives you a feel for what it was like for them back then," Sawyer said. Today, it’s staff works diligently to preserve the history of the fort; and what that history means to our collective future. "It is something that everybody should come and experience, and try and be a part of. It is local history and its also important in the larger context of American history," added Thornton. If you would like to take part in the living history, the smaller cannon will be fired Saturday at 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Costumed tours of the battlefield are Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
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