The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Artifacts to Be Presented to Fort Fisher

The September 18th Wilmington (NC) Star-News reported that this morning, a ceremony was held at the fort in which personal effects of Major James Reilly were presented. Reilly surrendered the Fort Fisher to Union Captain E. Lewis Moore.

Dr. James Reilly Lee, a descendant of the major presented a sash, shako plume, and shoulder epaulets owned by his ancestor. If I recall, Reillys sword, with which he surrendered the fort is already on display. The sash and plume probably date back to Reilly's prewar service as an ordnance sergeant and surrendered Fort Johnston in Southport to Confederate forces near the before the war began. The epaulets appear to have been altered during his Confederate service.


Captain Moore's sword and a sword and spyglass belonging to Confederate Captain John Ramsay were also presented. The story has it that Ramsay loaned the spyglass to Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Antietam and Lee used it to watch the arrival of A.P. Hill.

Representatives of the Reilly and Moore families were present for questions.

Also, Jack Travis, author of "Men of God, Angels of Death: History of the Rowan Artillery" gave a talk and signed copies of his book. James Reilly commanded the Rowan Artillery as a captain until promoted to major September 7, 1863 and being transferred to Wilmington. Ramsay was then promoted to captain and command of the unit.

Reilly was captured at Fort Fisher and imprisoned at Fort Delaware. He returned to Wilmington and died at age 71, Nov. 7, 1894 and was buried at Oakdale Cemetery. While looking for Whiting's grave, I came across Reilly's grave.

Travis will also be giving a talk at the Rowan, NC Public Library this week, sponsored by the Robert F. Hoke Chapter 78 UDC. Reilly was an Irish catholic and veteran of the Seminole and Mexican wars.

Some More God Stuff at the Museum. Definitely Would Have Liked to Have Been There. --Old B-Runner