Fort Fischer Civil War Battlefield

Fort Fisher is widely known for its role as the protector of last trade stronghold of the South during the Civil War. Wilmington was the last of the Confederate South’s trade ports to remain open during the end days of the Civil War, and Fort Fisher allowed it to stay open to blockade runners and to Robert E. Lee’s army.

Two major battles were fought there. On Christmas Eve 1864, the first attack came in the Union’s effort to close down the South and win the war. In the next assault, January 12, 1865, a massive bombardment began as the fort was assaulted from sea and land. General William Whiting was injured on January 15th. To literally add insult to injury, General Whiting was forced to officially surrender. Fort Fisher had been defeated and, with it, the Confederate South.

Only a few months later, the South would also surrender. In all, during the second attack, the Fort Fisher garrison lost almost 2,000 men, 500 of which were killed in battle. The Confederate army as a whole lost more than 2,200 men during these attacks, and the Federal forces lost more than 1,500. General Whiting was taken to a Union prison and left there to die.

With so many violent and emotional deaths, it is no wonder the locations of battles seem to have ghosts everywhere you turn. Fort Fisher’s best-known ghost is General Whiting himself. Seen on the parapet and walking the ground, his ghost still commands the fort. Does he blame himself for the fall?

The staff at the fort tells of another sighting of a Confederate soldier standing watch in the pine grove north of the fort. Other reports sent to us include the sounds of footsteps on the wooden walkways, the appearance of an apparition going from the ocean toward the fort, and the sounds of battle over the ocean at night.

In October 2004, Cape Fear Paranormal Investigation went to investigate the legend of General Whiting. We had a rather high electromagnetic field reading on top of one of the dirt mounds as well as in the pine grove just outside the fort. This area is said to be an old road that led from the fort to Wilmington. A photo taken from this spot showed a human-shaped mist, while other photos taken showed orbs. Could this be General Whiting still watching over his fort, or one of the many soldiers who died defending the South?

Written by — Stanley Wardrip Cape Fear Paranormal Investigation

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Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger


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