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Fort Johnston-Guardian of the Cape Fear River
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Countrydragon
N 33° 55.059 W 078° 01.026
17S E 775777 N 3757033
Quick Description: Marker is in Southport, North Carolina, in Brunswick County. Marker is on East Bay Street east of South Davis Street, on the left when traveling east.
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 12/16/2009 12:27:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM7X58
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 10

Long Description:
Confederate Lifeline. On January 9, 1861, as secession fever swept the South, an armed body of civilians overwhelmed Fort Johnston’s lone occupant, Ordinance Sgt. James Reilly, and demanded the keys. Reilly quickly surrendered them and received a receipt in return. North Carolina Gov. John W. Ellis, however, on January 11 ordered Fort Johnston and several other strongholds restored to the Federal government. The confederates reoccupied the fort on April 16, after the fall of Fort Sumter, once again taking possession from Reilly. He soon resigned from the U.S. Army, joined the Confederacy as an artillery officer, and, in a strange twist of fate, oversaw the surrender of Fort Fisher to Union forces on January 15, 1865.

Behind you is the Cape Fear River, flowing between Oak Island and Bald Head Island. During the war, vessels attempting to run the Federal blockade of Southern ports passed through this inlet en route to Canada, Bermuda, the Caribbean islands and Cuba. They steamed back to Wilmington with tons of military supplies, which railroads transported to Petersburg and Richmond in Virginia to support Gen. Robert E. Lee’s

By J. J. Prats, January 15, 2008

Army of Northern Virginia. Eventually, the Union blockading squadron sealed every Southern port except Wilmington, which was protected by Fort Fisher, Fort Johnston, and several other fortifications on the Cape Fear River.

On February 29, 1964, U.S. Navy Lt. William B. Cushing led a small party ashore at night to kidnap Confederate General Louis Hébert, Fort Johnston’s commanding officer. Hébert was away, so Cushing’s raiders took another officer to let the garrison know they had breached the fort’s security. Cushing took possession of Fort Johnston and Smithville (present-day Southport) for Federal forces on January 18, 1865, after Fort Fisher fell. Union troops assembled nearby for the assault on Fort Anderson in February.

In 1745, the North Carolina Assembly authorized the construction of a fort here to protect Cape Fear River from the Spanish. Little more than a century later, Fort Johnston (named for colonial governor Gabriel Johnston; also called Fort Pender) and other confederate forts helped safeguard the river and Wilmington from attack by U.S. Navy forces. Fort Johnston remained an active military facility

By J. J. Prats, January 15, 2008

The legend reads, “Fort Johnston barracks, 1865. The building in front of you was built about 1810 and used as officers’ quarters. The white columns were added during the 20th century.”

until decommissioning began in 2004
Type of site: Other

Admission Charged: No Charge

Driving Directions:
Marker is in Southport, North Carolina, in Brunswick County. Marker is on East Bay Street east of South Davis Street, on the left when traveling east.


Address: Not listed

Phone Number: Not listed

Website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Post at least one photo of a Civil War related item or scene and post one Civil War Discovery you learned while visiting the waymark. The photo should have the coordinates of where it was taken if significantly different from the waymark's coordinates.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
ChapterhouseInc visited Fort Johnston-Guardian of the Cape Fear River 4/8/2010 ChapterhouseInc visited it
Countrydragon visited Fort Johnston-Guardian of the Cape Fear River 12/18/2009 Countrydragon visited it

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