Fort Fisher State Historic Site

Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach

Fort Fisher State Historic Site

Fort Fisher State Historic Site
4.5
Military Museums • Historic Sites
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:45 PM
About
At the dawn of the American Civil War, the Confederacy took control of land in southeastern North Carolina near one of the two outlets to the Atlantic Ocean from the Cape Fear River. Fort Fisher was the largest earthwork fortification in the Confederacy and was constructed to protect this vital opening. Ships running the Federal blockade of the port of Wilmington, known as blockade runners, supplied necessary goods to Confederate armies inland. By late 1863, the supply line through Wilmington was the last remaining supply route open to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Federal Army and Navy attacked Fort Fisher December 24, 1864. After two days of fighting with little headway, Federal commanders concluded that the fort was too strong to assault and withdrew their forces. However, they returned for a second attempt on January 12, 1865. For two and one-half days, Federal ships bombarded the fort on both land and sea face. On the fifteenth, more than 3,300 Union infantry, including the 27th U.S. Colored Troops, assaulted the land face. After several hours of fierce hand-to-hand combat, Federal troops captured the fort that night. The Confederate army evacuated their remaining forts in the Cape Fear area, and within weeks Union forces overran Wilmington. Once Wilmington fell, the supply line of the Confederacy was severed, and the Civil War was soon over. This site has been declared national historic landmark. Along with a restored palisade fence, approximately ten percent of the fort still stands. Guided tours, outside panel makers and museum exhibits provide a historical point of reference. Shaded by gnarled live oaks, a scenic trail leads tourists from the visitor center past the gigantic earthworks and around to the rear of the fort. Visitors are invited to tour the remains of the fort's land face featuring an impressive reconstruction of a 32-pounder seacoast gun at Shepherd's Battery. Fort Fisher State Historic Site is located in Kure Beach on what was then known as Federal Point and today as Pleasure Island.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Popular mentions

4.5
506 reviews
Excellent
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189
Average
33
Poor
6
Terrible
3

DisneyDarwin
Spring, TX995 contributions
Great Stop, Great Visit
Sep 2021 • Family
Excellent history. Do the tour with a volunteer, it brings it to life! Grounds Bar terrific and information provided yes excellent. Plus, it is just a cool place to walk around.
Written September 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ChrisABeaune
Chapel Hill, NC407 contributions
Do Not Miss This!
Aug 2021
This is a tremendous asset to a Wilmington visit. The museum is so much more well done and interesting than we'd anticipated, and the volunteer docents were OUTSTANDING. They knew their battles and soldiers and strategies so well, they must have PhDs. Ask a question, they knew the answers.
The site is about the Civil War (not civil at all), but did you know that women pilots were used there during WWII to fly moving gunnery targets as practice for the airmen to shoot? That is the kind of fascinating tidbit you'll encounter.
Start with the 10-minute movie to set the scene before spending time with the displays and enjoying the beautiful setting outside.
Written September 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

K C
Conway, United States22 contributions
small but worth the time
Jul 2021
This is a small museum with a walking area behind. Not alot of artifacts but plenty of information & the dioramas are well done. Enjoyed the part on Fort Fisher during WWII-wish there was more what happened to Fort Fisher after the Civil War. The walking area was neat, well kept with plenty of information plaques.
Written August 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Emily
North Carolina10 contributions
Fun Alternative for a Beach Day
Jun 2021 • Couples
The museum was informative and provided a good background of the fort. I highly suggest the 10 minute movie before viewing the outside portion. Plan to go on a day with good weather so you can enjoy the fort thoroughly. (Also the sunset from the memorial statue across the is street is beautiful!!)
Written July 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sevensluky
Hoover, AL294 contributions
Little Known Fort
Jun 2021 • Couples
I found this place searching for things to do on our lighthouse chasing journey. Very interesting history for this fort. The ten minute informational video at the visitors center gave a great explanation of the roll of Fort Fisher in the last days of the Civil War. Nice views from walking trail around fort.
Written June 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

harryatkck
Kansas City, KS772 contributions
An interesting Place
May 2021
This free state historic site tells the story of what happened at Ft Fisher during the Civil War. This is not a well know story, but an important one. There is a very informative film in the visitor center & a walking tour you can take that does a great job of telling what happened here. The staff was friendly & very helpful. I'm glad I came here!
Written June 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Laframabe
Jefferson, Md167 contributions
Interesting and informative!
Apr 2021 • Couples
If you enjoy history, this is an informative visit. After we visited the museum, we drove down the road to the Park. We took beach chairs and sat on this beautiful beach for an hour. A definite spot to return to again!
Written April 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Melaney68
Chesapeake Beach, MD8,978 contributions
Free and Interesting!
Apr 2021 • Couples
We stumbled upon Fort Fisher and enjoyed the movie explaining the Civil War battles and historical significance of the area. There were exhibits and docents who answered questions. We walked the outdoor trails that had signage explaining key events. It was a nice little stop.
Written April 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Linda D
Portland, ME2,534 contributions
Nice to walk around
Apr 2021
The area was beautiful on the beach, but little in the way of a 'fort' A couple fences and one monument. The small museum (free) in the parking lot was informative.
Written April 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Greg Davis
3 contributions
Informational
Mar 2021
Nice place to view. Lot of history about around the war. Nice walk on back side looking at how firing stations were formed
Written March 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Fort Fisher State Historic Site

Fort Fisher State Historic Site is open:
  • Tue - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:45 PM