Fort Fisher

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wilmington's Fort Anderson-- Part 3: Capturing the Fort

Continued from Feb. 9th.

Fort Fisher guarded New Inlet (to Cape Fear River) which is now gone.  Fort Anderson guarded the river's main channel between Fort Fisher and Wilmington, but from the other side.

Fort Anderson had a 12-inch Whitworth cannon, one of the most powerful weapons of the war.  It could pierce ironclad armor, but Unfortunately there was a severe shortage of ammunition.  In addition, Fort Anderson had a battery of torpedoes (mines), some triggered by electrical charge.

Like Fort Fisher, this fort was basically a giant "L" with the longer bar guarding its land approaches to the south.

It's Achlles Heel, however, was that west of Orton Pond, its defenses were just light trenches which were rarely guarded.  If attackers detoured several miles west through difficult but doable terrain, the fort could be flanked from the rear.

This is exactly what happened and Fort Anderson's commander, Brigadier General Johnson Hagood traded a few rounds with Porter's fleet then was forced to retreat before his command was captured.

That ever brave William B. Cushing had scouted Fort Anderson in the darkness the night before its capture.

--Old B-R'er

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