Monday, May 9, 2016

Fort Macon-- Part 2

In 1862, Union forces led by Major General Ambrose E. Burnside launched a campaign against the North Carolina coast, intending to capture Fort Macon and Beaufort Harbor.  They took possession of Morehead City on 23 March and captured Beaufort three days later.

Five artillery companies of North Carolina troops were garrisoned at Fort Macon under Col.Moses J. White.  Altogether they amounted to 450 men and 54 heavy guns.  The Union forces demanded he surrender.  He refused.

On 28 March Brig. Gen. John G. Parke established siege positions within a half mile of the fort.  He made a final demand for surrender .  Early the next morning, Parke's batteries opened fire on the fort in a bombardment that lasted 11 hours.

The Union rifled cannons carried the day.  This was only the second time in history that rifled cannons had bombarded a masonry fort and this one demonstrated the growing obsolescence of forts as a means of defense.  It took only a few hours for the cannons to crack Fort Macon's walls and threaten a magazine.

--Old Secesh

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