From the December 5, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" by Scott Nunn.
Tjhis article was based on Chris Fonvielle's book "The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope." Scott Nunn doubts that anyone knows more about Wilmington and Fort fisher than this man. I agree. Fonvielle is the author of at least five books on this subject.
People had to wonder why Fort Fisher, the Cape Fear River and Wilmington had stayed under Confederate control for so long, even as its importance grew substantially throughout the war. The North did nothing, nor, for that matter did the South do much to protect. general lee repeatedly turned down requests from Wilmington's commander, Major General W.H.C. Whiting for reinforcements. Confederate authorities believed Whiting was exaggerating the need.
The fort was commanded by Col. William Lamb. The garrison passed its time keeping Fort Fisher in good shape, placing cannons, drilling and making it larger and more defensible.