Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fort Anderson Re-enactment Promises to Be Loud This Weekend-- Part 2

Paul Shivers, re-enacting the role of a Confederate engineer officer, will lead a tour of the fort's northern battery.  He has been working on a detailed GPS survey of the fort.  One reason Fort Anderson is important is that it shows the evolution of Confederate earthwork building techniques from 1861-1865.

There will also be a program on Civil War-era steam engines.

Re-enactor Chris Grimes will give an interpretation program on embalming and coffin-making in the 1800s.  Modern mortuary science was essentially invented during the Civil War as thousands of dead soldiers on both sides were shipped home for burial.

Of special interest will be a program on Civil War "torpedoes" which would be called mines today.  Fort Anderson had both naval and land ones for defense.  Replicas and examples of both will be shown, including a rare example of a "coal torpedo."  As you would expect from the name, it s a torpedo designed to look like a chunk of coal.  When it would be stoked into a fire an explosion would occur.  A coal torpedo was blamed for the 1863 explosion of the USS Chenango which killed 33.

Fort Anderson was built on the west bank of the Cape Fear River and was to guard the channel leading to Wilmington.  After 1862, it also served as a quarantine station to check incoming blockade-runners for yellow fever and other infectious diseases.

The garrison evacuated the fort on February 19, 1865 and Union troops entered Wilmington just 72 hours later.

--Old B-Runner

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