Joseph Lewis Ryder, Jr. Civil War Park, Carolina Beach, NC

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
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Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
We visited the Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park in Carolina Beach, NC, today. This very nice little park was just dedicated in February. It represents what’s left of the Sugar Loaf line, which was an auxiliary line north of the Fort Fisher defenses (Fort Fisher was about four miles south). Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke held this line with about 4,500 Confederate troops. The line extended all the way across the island.

The first attacks on the Sugar Loaf line occurred on January 19, 1865, when two Union brigades, including a brigade of U. S. Colored Troops, were repulsed. An entire division of U. S. C. T. did the bulk of the fighting in the so-called Battle of Sugar Loaf on February 11, when the Confederate infantry repulsed their attacks against the stout earthworks.

The Confederate troops pulled back toward Wilmington after other Confederate troops abandoned Fort Anderson on the west bank of the Cape Fear River on February 19, 1865, which enabled Union gunboats to shell the Sugar Loaf line from close range. Wilmington fell on February 22, meaning that the last port open to blockade runners was now closed forever.

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major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Thank you for posting these images I have never visited Joseph Ryder Lewis, Jr. Civil War Park in Carolina Beach, NC and probably will never get to visit it.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
My Mother-in-Law is moving to Oak Island this summer. The more there is for me to see and do on my own, the better.
Jeff,

My wife and I have been vacationing in this area for 20 years now, and this is where we intend to settle when the time to retire rolls around.

In addition to the Sugar Loaf line site, there are:

1. What's left of Fort Fisher, which also includes Battery Buchanan;
2. Fort Anderson/Brunswick Town on the West Bank of the Cape Fear River
3. The Battle of Forks Road site, which is at the Cameron Museum of Art. I will be posting photos from there today or tomorrow.
4. Fort Caswell, on Oak Island proper.
5. Fort Johnston, in Southport

There's also the battleship North Carolina in Wilmington proper and the Moore's Creek Revolutionary War (1775) battlefield about 20 miles north of Wilmington. There's a lighthouse on Oak Island if you enjoy lighthouses. The Cape Fear Museum of Science and History is also well worth a visit: https://www.capefearmuseum.com.

There's also the Old Baldy lighthouse on Bald Head Island, which is an old, historic lighthouse that dates back to 1817. Old Baldy sits adjacent to what's left of the Civil War fortifications on Bald Head Island that were called Fort Holmes. There's little left of Fort Holmes, and you might need someone to actually show you where the remnants are. The problem with Bald Head Island is that it's rather far out from Southport and there's no causeway. If you don't have your own boat, the ONLY way out there is to take the private ferry, and then, unless you rent a golf cart on the island, you're a pedestrian.

If you time your visits correctly, the largest Civil War Roundtable in the country meets at Fort Caswell: http://www.brunswickcivilwarroundtable.com

Eric
 

JeffFromSyracuse

Corporal
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Location
Philly Suburbs
Jeff,

My wife and I have been vacationing in this area for 20 years now, and this is where we intend to settle when the time to retire rolls around.

In addition to the Sugar Loaf line site, there are:

1. What's left of Fort Fisher, which also includes Battery Buchanan;
2. Fort Anderson/Brunswick Town on the West Bank of the Cape Fear River
3. The Battle of Forks Road site, which is at the Cameron Museum of Art. I will be posting photos from there today or tomorrow.
4. Fort Caswell, on Oak Island proper.
5. Fort Johnston, in Southport

There's also the battleship North Carolina in Wilmington proper and the Moore's Creek Revolutionary War (1775) battlefield about 20 miles north of Wilmington. There's a lighthouse on Oak Island if you enjoy lighthouses. The Cape Fear Museum of Science and History is also well worth a visit: https://www.capefearmuseum.com.

If you time your visits correctly, the largest Civil War Roundtable in the country meets at Fort Caswell: http://www.brunswickcivilwarroundtable.com

Eric
Thanks for this. She rented last fall, and I was able to visit Fort Fisher and Battery Buchanan - took the ferry over. The rest - well, it's a reason to be glad I'm going back.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
As promised, here are a few photos from the surviving portion of the Confederate line from the Battle of Forks Road, fought on February 20, 1865. 900 of Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke's division entrenched strongly in a last-ditch effort to hold off the Union advance on Wilmington. In two days of fighting, the Union soldiers--primarily U. S. Colored Troops--took heavy losses, and three U.S.C.T. were eventually awarded the Medal of Honor. On the morning of February 22, Hoke finally ordered his men to abandon the position and retreat, leaving Wilmington to be captured.

There is a small portion of the Confederate earthworks--painstakingly restored and reinforced--that survives. Those works are on the grounds of the Cameron Art Museum. There's a North Carolina Civil War Trails marker there, and that's about it. If you don't know that they're there, or where to locate them, you will never find them. It's a very small remnant of the earthworks. The rest were lost to development many years ago.

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