Fort Macon State Park Reenactments Highlight Battle’s 150th Anniversary

Apr. 20, 2012

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. - Reenactments of the Civil War battle and capture of Fort Macon and a spectacular night cannonade will dramatize the 150th anniversary of the event this month at Fort Macon State Park, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Rangers, Friends of Fort Macon volunteers and more than 200 re-enactors will be involved in the principal two-day event April 21-22, which will also feature living history demonstrations of both Federal and Confederate troops, musket firings, drills, Civil War music and children's activities. Reenactments of the bombardment and surrender of Fort Macon will be repeated at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. April 21 and 2 p.m. April 22.

"Fort Macon is North Carolina's second-oldest state park, but its dramatic history, dating to 1834, is also interwoven into that of the North Carolina coast and the state as a whole," said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. "It's fitting that we celebrate not only this contribution to our shared history but Fort Macon State Park's contributions to protection of our coastal resources and the region's economy."

The Fort Macon event is in keeping with similar observances across the country during 2011-15 marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. It will be one of the largest sesquicentennial events in North Carolina and the largest reenactment in the state park's history.

The observances will continue at 4 p.m. on April 25 - the actual anniversary of the 1862 bombardment - when the state park holds a remembrance of the men of both sides who fought and died in the siege of Fort Macon. And, at 10 a.m. on April 26, a Confederate flag will be lowered and a United States flag raised exactly 150 years from the time these actions took place in 1862 when Federal forces formally took possession of Fort Macon.

The siege of Fort Macon began on March 23, 1862, with the first demand by the Federal forces of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside for the surrender of the fort held by Confederate forces of Col. Moses J. White. White refused, forcing Burnside's forces to begin a siege culminating on April 25 in a bombardment by Federal artillery positioned in the sand dunes about three-quarters of a mile away, supported by U.S. Navy gunboats offshore. The 11-hour bombardment ended with the fort heavily damaged and in danger of being destroyed by the explosion of its own gunpowder magazines. Col. White had no choice but to surrender the fort the following morning. Federal troops occupied the fort for the remainder of the war.

Re-enactors will portray members of both Federal and Confederate regiments with the 1st North Carolina Volunteers/11th Regiment acting as host unit. Staff of North Carolina Historic Sites will aid in the artillery cannonade, along with personnel from Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site. Other sponsors include Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, the Morehead City Marlins, and the Beaufort Historical Association.

Scout groups will offer light refreshments, soft drinks and bottled water for sale, but visitors should be aware that no significant food concessions are available at the state park. Parking will be limited and a shuttle bus will provide transportation from the bathhouse parking area to the fort. Visitors planning to view the reenactments should arrive in the designated viewing area at least 30 minutes beforehand.



Charlie Peek