Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Fort Fisher, Confederate earthwork fortification, built by Gen. William Whiting in 1862 to guard the port of Wilmington, N.C.; scene of one of the last large battles of the Civil War. Because Wilmington was one of the few ports open to blockade-runners, a joint land-sea expedition under Gen. Benjamin Butler and Admiral David Porter was sent against Fort Fisher in Dec., 1864; the Union forces, however, failed to take it. A second attempt, with Gen. Alfred Terry replacing Butler, captured the fort on Jan. 15, 1865. The port was closed and Wilmington fell soon afterward. Fort Fisher is now a historic site.