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Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University

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Welcome! 

THIS MONTH IN CIVIL WAR HISTORY
January 1865

Fort Fisher Falls

 

The earthworks that constitute Fort Fisher (above) and have offered protection for the Confederacy’s last open port with the outside world on the Atlantic Coast is on the list of Federal wartime objectives as a new year dawns.  Wilmington, N.C., had long provided an outlet for cotton and a chance for those critical supplies that could slip through the blockade to reach the South, but Union efforts to deprive their opponents of these fleeting opportunities have been gaining strength and priority, particularly after General William T. Sherman had reached Savannah, Ga. in December.  A botched attempt to storm the position has prompted the removal of Benjamin F. Butler and garnered Ulysses Grant’s focus and commitment.  Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry will undertake the assignment with a command that includes U.S. Colored Troops.  Colonel William Lamb offers a valiant defense as the Union vice closes on Fort Fisher, with the defenders repulsing a charge by 1,500 U.S. marines and sailors on Jan. 15.  An additional assault, supported by Union naval fire, which had already caused heavy damage and casualties, succeeds in breaching the works, allowing the capture of a wounded Colonel Lamb and the remaining Confederate defenders.


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