First Battle of Fort Fisher

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First Battle of Fort Fisher

December 7, 1864


December 27, 1864


New Hanover County, North Carolina


Eastern Theater


Expedition against Fort Fisher, December 1864


Confederate victory

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Conf Navy Jack.png

Expeditionary Corps,
Army of the James

Hoke's Division
Fort Fisher Garrison


David D. Porter
Rear Admiral, USN
Benjamin F. Butler
Major General, USA

Robert Hoke
Major General, CSA


320 total US and CS

320 total US and CS


Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was relieved of command of the Army of the James and assigned to lead an amphibious expedition against Fort Fisher, which protected Wilmington, the South's last open seaport on the Atlantic coast. Learning that large numbers of Union troops had embarked from Hampton Roads on December 13, Lee dispatched Hoke's Division to meet the expected attack on Fort Fisher. On December 24, the Union fleet under Rear Adm. David D. Porter arrived to begin shelling the fort. An infantry division disembarked from transports to test the fort's defenses. The Federal assault on the fort had already begun when Hoke approached, discouraging further Union attempts. Butler called off the expedition on December 27 and returned to Fort Monroe. (NPS summary)