Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fort Fisher Part III: Historic Site

Upon arriving in Fort Fisher, we stopped at the Historic Site to check out the Visitors Center located just off Hwy 421. A difficult decision since the Atlantic Ocean, a wide walkway that ran parallell to it, and an abundance of sunshine were visible to our left through a stand of trees.


With a promise of returning soon, we went inside.

Fans of history, in particular, NC History or of the War Between the States ('tweren't nothing civil about that sad event) will enjoy the Fort Fisher Historic Site. Behind the Visitors Center are three mounds—the remains of the old fort that once protected ships spiriting supplies to Wilmington's port. From the NC Historic Sites website:

Until the last few months of the Civil War, Ft. Fisher kept North Carolina's port of Wilmington open to blockade-runners supplying necessary goods to Confederate armies inland. By 1865, the supply line through Wilmington was the last remaining supply route open to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. When Ft. Fisher fell after a massive Federal amphibious assault on January 15, 1865, its defeat helped seal the fate of the Confederacy.

www.nchistoricsites.org/fisher/fisher.htm
Inside the Visitors Center are numerous displays, photos, and even a fiber-optic battle map recreating the heroic efforts to (from the Confederate standpoint) keep the supply line open so they could end the d*#n war, or (from the Union perspective) take the fort, cut off supplies, and end the d#*n war.

The war ended four months later.

You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy the Historic Site. A short trail circles the mounds, with an oak forest on the north side, and marshlands on the south. Warning, I forgot to reset the exposure compensation on my camera, so the colors are a bit odd:







At the end of the trail, we spotted another memorial, and the Atlantic Ocean, across the street:


After a quick visit to the bookstore inside the Visitors Center, we crossed the two-lane street and soaked in the view:







A satisfying start to our day. But we longed to get closer to the water, so we headed down the road to the Fort Fisher Recreational Area. However, we plan on returning to this spot soon. An elderly North Carolina native with ninety-one years behind her expressed her desire to see the ocean one more time. With convenient parking and a level path—not to mention a terrific view—this seemed the perfect spot to take her. We look forward to sharing this moment with her in the immediate future.

For more information on all attractions at Fort Fisher, go to www.pleasureislandnc.org/fortfisher.asp

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