Fort Fisher, NC I

Date(s): December 7-27, 1864

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site (historical site), Kure Beach, North Carolina, United States

Campaign(s): Expedition against Fort Fisher [December 1864]

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Rear Adm. David D. Porter and Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. Robert Hoke

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Expeditionary Corps, Army of the James

  • Confederate: Hokeís Division and Fort Fisher Garrison


  • Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was relieved of command of the Army of the James and assigned to lead an amphibious expedition against Fort Fisher, which protected Wilmington, the Southís last open seaport on the Atlantic coast.

  • Learning that large numbers of Union troops had embarked from Hampton Roads on December 13, Lee sent Hokeís Division to meet the expected attack on Fort Fisher.

  • On December 24, the Union fleet under Rear Adm. David D. Porter arrived to begin shelling the fort.

  • An infantry division disembarked from transports to test the fortís defenses.

  • The Federal assault on the fort had already begun when Maj. Gen. Robert Hoke approached, discouraging further Union attempts.

  • Butler called off the expedition on December 27 and returned to Fort Monroe.

Photo Gallery:1

Fort Fisher Visitor Center

Fort Fisher's role in keeping the Port of Wilmington, NC open

Col. Lamb's expansion of the fort from 1862-1865

Old River Road from Wilmington

Walkway to fort over marshes


Cannon emplacement inside the fort

Shepherd's Battery

Shepherd's Battery

View from fort of bridge and Union approach

Shepherd's Bombproof

Union Fisasco - First Battle

Capture of the Fort

View from outside of fort showing gun emplacements

Fort Fisher's Armstong Gun

Fort Fisher's Armstong Gun

Firing the Armstrong gun

Firing the Armstrong gun

Map showing movement of Union fleet in attack on fort

Map showing movement of Union fleet in attack on fort

Diorama of fort construction

Description of fort construction

Memorial to Confederate soldiers who served at Fort Fisher

Marker indicating the location of the Fort Fisher headquarters


Classification2: C

Casualties3: 320 total

  • Union:  

  • Confederate:

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: North Carolina  Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of"

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 04/06/2013