From the Dec. 16, 2014, Jacksonville, N.C. Daily News "150 Years after Fort Fisher fight, Civil War is big business" by Ben Steelman.
"Christmas Eve came with a bang 150 years ago in Southeastern North Carolina."
At 1:46 a.m. on the morning of December 24, 1864, the USS Louisiana, a flat-bottomed powder ship, blew up 600 yards off Fort Fisher. This was the project of Union General Benjamin Butler who thought the explosion would knock the big sand fort down.
The explosion was heard at Wilmington and some accounts have it being heard at Beaufort, North Carolina, 70 miles away.
The explosion failed to even damage the fort. Undertow and a strong offshore breeze pulled the Louisiana off course. The ship's commander miscalculated the distance and thought he was just 300 yards away and then set the fuses and abandoned the ship.
A group of teen-aged N.C. Junior Reserves were camping near the beach and the explosion jarred them from their tents :like popcorn from a popper." they were frightened, but otherwise unhurt.
Today, ironically, the Fort Fisher State Historic Park will be closed Dec. 24-Dec. 26, 2014, for the holidays, which dates also mark the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Fort Fisher.
The fort marked its observance last Saturday with re-enactors and the firing of the fort's 32-pdr. gun.