'And Oh How We Suffered...'--The 154th Commemoration of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher

Event Description

Dubbed '...And Oh How We Suffered', Fort Fisher's 154th anniversary commemoration will focus on the stories of those individuals impressed by the Confederate War Department and Engineer Bureau to build Fort Fisher and the Cape Fear defenses. Outside the museum, reenactors will bring the Fort to life. Infantry units will be on hand to talk with visitors about camp life and garrison duty as they drill and conduct the manual of arms. Artillery demonstrations will include firings of the site's rifled and banded 32-pound cannon, the bronze 12-pound Napoleon cannon, and a 10-pound Parrott Rifle. Local photographer Harry Taylor will showcase his 1860s traveling wet-plate photography studio, at which visitors can learn about Civil War photographer Timothy O’Sullivan, the process needed to create photos, and how these photos help historians understand the design of--and battle for--Fort Fisher.


The program will also feature special speaking engagements throughout the day, beginning at 10:30am with Becky Sawyer, Interpreter III at Fort Fisher, who will discuss a newly-installed temporary exhibit detailing the three lighthouses of Federal Point. At 12:30 pm, Mr. Harvey Godwin, chairman of the Lumbee tribe, will greet visitors and introduce Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, associate professor of history at UNC- Chapel Hill, who will discuss the Lumbee conscription at Fort Fisher, how it was an important part of the origins of the Lowry War, and Lumbee attitudes towards both the Confederacy and Radical Reconstruction. At 2:30 pm, Dr. Jamie Martinez, associate professor of history at UNC at Pembroke, will discuss a crucial issue facing the Confederacy and the builders of Fort Fisher--insufficient laborers. To meet the workforce demand needed during the war, State and local officials cooperated with the Confederate War Department and Engineer Bureau to ensure a supply of slave labor on fortifications. Drs. Lowery and Martinez’s presentations are free to the public, but organizers recommend calling 910-251-7340 in advance to reserve a seat.


For the young and young at heart, the program will also feature a pair of Junior Reserves activities. First, the 'School of the Soldier' will educate visitors about military life while teaching the manual of arms and how muskets were loaded. A second activity, Civil War Communications, will explore Civil War communications including secret codes and transmission devices.  On the battlefield, ensuring message delivery could determine victory or defeat. Visitors will learn about the various methods soldiers used to encrypt their messages using cipher and code disks. The program runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is free and open to the public. All Fort Fisher programming is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of Fort Fisher and its sustaining members, as well as from New Hanover County, the town of Carolina Beach, and the town of Kure Beach.