Fort Johnston

Fort Johnston (HM2LX)

Location: Southport, NC 28461 Brunswick County
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Country: United States of America
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N 33° 55.059', W 78° 1.026'

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Guardian of the Cape Fear River

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 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.

(left sidebar)On February 29, 1964, U.S. Navy Lt. William B. Cushing led a small party ashore at night to kidnap Confederate General Louis H?bert, Fort Johnston's commanding officer. H?bert 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.

(right sidebar) 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 until decommissioning began in 2004.
HM NumberHM2LX
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 11:54am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 775777 N 3757033
Decimal Degrees33.91765000, -78.01710000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 33° 55.059', W 78° 1.026'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds33° 55' 3.54" N, 78° 1' 1.56" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)910
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 223 E Bay St, Southport NC 28461, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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