Brunswick Plantation’s area history is rich and long. Today’s post: the “Gibraltar” of the South—Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
Just a short ride to Southport,NC from Brunswick Plantation and a quick ride on the Fort Fisher Ferry bring you to a journey into the past. You have arrived at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and the North Carolina Aquarium. Listen closely—can you hear the roar of cannon fire?
Most of us learned the stories about the Rock of Gibraltar—that guards the entrance to the Mediterranean Ocean—while in school. By controlling shipping though this strait, countries through the ages could bring in supplies and armies. The sieges and military action caused the people to coin the phrase “solid as the Rock of Gibraltar,” used to describe a person or situation that “cannot be overcome and does not fail.” It was particularly important in World War II. But another place also holds this title—the entrance to the Cape Fear River, near Wilmington NC, called “The Gibraltar of the South.”
During the Civil War, Fort Fisher played a vital role in fueling the Confederate Machine. Wilmington was the last major port open to the Confederacy on the Atlantic seacoast. Ships leaving Wilmington via the Cape Fear River and setting sail for the Bahamas, Bermuda, or Nova Scotia to trade cotton and tobacco for needed supplies from the British were protected by the fort.
Fort Fisher was mostly constructed of earth and sand. This made absorbing the pounding of heavy fire from Union ships more effective and older fortifications constructed of motor and bricks. Twenty-two guns faced the ocean, while another twenty-five faced the land. These fortifications kept Union ships from attacking the port of Wilmington and the Cape Fear River.
Several attempts to take the Fort failed. It was heavily defended, but finally the Union Generals and Admirals came together and turned their might against the Fort. The loss of Fort Fisher on January 15 1865 sealed the fate of the Confederacy’s last remaining seaport and the South was cut off from global trade. There were no remaining seaports near Virginia that the Confederates could use practically. It also ended any chance of European recognition, being viewed by many as “the final nail in the Confederate coffin.” A month later, the Union army moved up the Cape Fear River and captured Wilmington.
Fort Fisher Today
Enjoy a leisurely day at the ocean shore. Comb the beach for sea stars, urchins, and whelk shells. Sit back and watch the shorebirds dive. Approximately six miles of beach provide all the sun, sand, sea, and sky you can soak up. Located on the southern tip of Pleasure Island near Wilmington, Fort fisher lies between the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Cape Fear River on the west.
The North Carolina Aquarium is located on US 421 approximately 15 miles south of Wilmington, just beyond Kure Beach. The Aquarium runs a full schedule of special activities and programs. GPS: 33’57’46”N, 77’55’32”W.
You can wander the old fortification ruins and feel the sound of battle. This area is not to be missed.
We hope you will visit this historical locale and tell us about it. If you have any question, comments, or suggestions about this post or other info about Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort CLICK HERE.