Fort Fisher Hero - Ayden, NC
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member geodave88
N 35° 29.096 W 077° 22.525
18S E 284505 N 3929416
Quick Description: CWT marker commemorates a hero of the fight for Fort Fisher, Pvt. Christopher Columbus Bland, who is buried here (Hancock's Primitive Baptist Church, Ayden, NC).
Location: North Carolina, United States
Date Posted: 1/10/2009 10:09:40 PM
Waymark Code: WM5HXA
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 14

Long Description:
Nineteen year old Christopher C. Bland was a private in Company K, 2nd North Carolina Artillery, serving at Fort Fisher during the 1st major Union offensive against the fort. The Federal bombardment began on Christmas Eve 1864 when a fleet of 60 Union vessels, commanded by Admiral David D. Porter, started cannonading the fort.

Unlike the brick and morter forts that characterized many costal fortifications of the civil war, Fort Fisher consisted of sand mounds and batteries that fronted the seaface for over a mile. The earth and sand infrastructure effectively absorbed the shock of heavy explosives. With few obvious targets to focus their fire upon, Union cannons aimed their shells at Confederate flags flying defiantly above the fort's batteries. Recognizing this, the forst's commander, Col. William Lamb ordered all garrison flags raised.

At Mound battery, located at the southern end of the fort, Bland volunteered for the deadly mission. The spectacular deed was later recalled in heny King's "Sketches of Pitt County":

"During the assault on Fort Fisher, NC the garrison flag was shot away from it's staff. The only way to get it back was to climb the pole and replace it. Volunteers were called for. Pvt. Christopher C. Bland, Company K, 36th Regiment went forward, mounted the ramparts, seized the flag and began climbing the pole amid a hail of shot and shell. Reaching the top, he tied the flag to the pole and began descending. About half way down, he was called to, that the flag did not float right. Looking up he saw it was tied by one corner only. Climbing up again, he took off his cravat and tied the other corner to the pole and descended. When some way down he was called to, to "look out for that shell." Looking to sea he saw the shell, seemingly coming directly at him. He clung as closely as possible to the pole while the shell went by, its breeze fanning his face. He was missed. He was safe. Taking his place in the ranks, he forgot the incident in the excitement of the defense."

After two days of fighting with little headway, Union commanders concluded that the fort was too strong to assault and withdrew their forces. However, Bland suffered an ankle wound during the second bombardment of Fort Fisher in January 1865, which resulted in the eventual amputation of the lower third of that leg. In 1995, on the 130th anniversary of the second assult on Fort Fisher, Bland posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor.

Type of site: Cemetery

3647 Ayden Golf Club Road
Ayden, NC

Admission Charged: No Charge

Website: [Web Link]

Phone Number: Not listed

Driving Directions: Not listed

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