Civil War Lecture Series: “Gibraltar of the Confederacy: Fort Fisher”

The Mariners' Museum & Park
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
United States 100 Museum Drive Newport News 23606


  • Members: $Free
  • Non-Members: $Free with museum admission

Wilmington, North Carolina on the Cape Fear River was perhaps the most effective blockade runners’ port – trading cotton and tobacco for munitions, medicines, clothing, and other war material. Located 29 miles upriver from the Atlantic Ocean, it was defended by a series of forts of which the most important was Fort Fisher. Named for Colonel Charles Fisher of the 6th North Carolina, who was killed at 1st Manassas, the fort was the largest seacoast earthen fortification in the world. The Federals endeavored to capture the fort 23-27 December 1864 by a joint operation commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler and Rear Admiral David Porter; yet, the expedition failed. A second amphibious assault descended on Fort Fisher on 13-15 January 1865. This assault successfully closed the last port available to support the Confederate armies in the east.