The Civil War, Day by Day

The Gunner and the Colonel

Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Imported military supplies were vital to the Southern war effort and the Battle of Fort Fisher was a struggle for the lifeline of the Confederacy. When Federal forces captured the giant fort, the seaport was sealed and so was the fate of the Confederacy.

Wilmington, South Carolina, defended by the extensive Fort Fisher, was the last Confederate open port on the Atlantic coast. Union naval and land forces finally stormed the fort in January 1865. At the height of the battle, Colonel Newton Curtis led his troops into Shepherd’s Battery in the fort’s northwest corner. As the last remaining gunner prepared to fire a loaded piece, it was the towering colonel himself who struck the man down. For his leadership and personal bravery, Curtis was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.

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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.