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Fort Fisher State Historic Site

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Address: 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd S, Kure Beach, NC 28449-3755
Phone Number:
+1 910-458-5538
See all hours
Tue - Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

At the dawn of the American Civil War, the Confederacy took control of land...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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    Very good
  • 23
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  • 3
Small Civil War Museum; self guided tour of fort

Adequate parking and a small museum of the history of the fort and its roll in Civil War. Self guided tours and museum are free. Worth it just to learn about this fort's roll in... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Winston Salem, North Carolina
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371 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 369: English reviews
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Level Contributor
721 reviews
398 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 259 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Adequate parking and a small museum of the history of the fort and its roll in Civil War. Self guided tours and museum are free. Worth it just to learn about this fort's roll in the Civil War. Just south of Kure beach, which is a nice drive from Wilmington.

Thank Don49680
Montpelier, Virginia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Lots to see and very intersting setting. A wonderful place to visit if you love history. There is also a public beach acess near by. Make sure you take a walk around the historic site.

Thank kelly0912
Level Contributor
38 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

While renting on Carolina Beach, we took the short drive to Fort Fischer. Entrance is free, but there is a donation box within the museum. You can spend about 30-45 minutes reading and reviewing the exhibits before heading outside to stroll around the fort. Not much of the actual for remains (I believe only 11% is original), but there a... More 

Thank az_rosie
Southport, North Carolina
Level Contributor
132 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

I'm not a history buff but my partner is...and this was a very interesting and well presented display. We also enjoyed walking the small hills and abutments surrounding the area. Perfect visit for a Civil War buff. There were two attendants who were a wealth of knowledge, polite, courteous, engaging and patient....even with some of my "dumb" questions. I think... More 

Thank joalleB
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were intrigued by the civil war history of Ft Fisher. The docent was excellent, thorough. They really should charge admission.

Thank pardan4746
Plano, Texas
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This is an interesting little museum located in a very scenic area. It is worth the short drive from Carolina Beach if you are in the area.

Thank Marla3212
Statesville, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
146 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Cape Fear entrance to Wilmington on the other. I enjoyed the history of the place. worth a visit if you are in the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach area.

Thank Jim C
Level Contributor
39 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2017 via mobile

Fort Fisher is an old civil war fort right at the mouth of the Cape Fear river. The grounds and scenery are wonderful. River and marshes to the west and the Atlantic to the east. The walking trails are well maintained and peaceful. The museum is small and a little dated. Also smelled musty.

Thank Michael A
Hampstead, North Carolina
Level Contributor
151 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2017 via mobile

We didn't much touring of the fort itself, but we did walk along the shore and generally strolled while we were leaving the aquarium. The location is immediately adjacent to the aquarium and the admission is free which is great. You can also pay to access the beach by vehicle which is really cool. We will return soon to spend... More 

Thank bfarber
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
126 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 2017

I've visited Fort Fisher a couple of times since moving to North Carolina. Unfortunately, both of those times were on Sundays, when the museum and visitors center were closed. (I hope that NC historic sites get more funding soon, because we've noticed that many of them are closed on Sundays,which is a bit baffling, since most of us locals only... More 

Thank katsusanna

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Jonesboro, Georgia
over a year ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?