|Author||David W. Kummer and U.S. Marine Corps History Office|
Describes the Union naval amphibious assaults on the Confederate Fort Fisher in Wilmington, North Carolina during the Civil War in December 1864 and January 1865.
In no arena of conflict did the Union hold greater advantage than in its ability to assert naval force and conduct amphibious operations, and no operation in the entire Civil War better illustrates the Union’s ability to leverage amphibious power projection than the assault on Fort Fisher at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The actions taken to capture Fort Fisher and thereby close down the last effective Confederate port—Wilmington, North Carolina—represent a particularly rich opportunity to study the amphibious elements of that war.
The fighting for Fort Fisher actually involved two separate but related battles. The first attack, in December 1864, failed utterly, and it provides many good examples of bad planning and execution. The second effort, during January 1865, succeeded magnificently; it stands as a sterling example upon which to build an amphibious tradition.