Fort Fisher to Host Cannoneers: “Load, Ready, Fire!” Program

They may squint their eyes, brace their shoulders and cover their ears, but few kids can resist the booming sound of a Civil War-era cannon. And that’s just what they’ll experience at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site program Cannoneers: “Load, Ready, Fire!” set for Saturday, July 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At this free event, costumed staff and volunteers will fire the site’s 12-lb. bronze Napoleon cannon and teach visitors about Civil War artillery and the soldiers who used them. Cannon firings will be held at 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Tours led by a costumed interpreter begin at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Regular scheduled tours are hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Throughout the day, kids ages 4-13 are invited to join the ‘Junior Reserves,’” said Fort Fisher Assistant Site Manager Amy Manor Thornton. “Upon completion of the ‘Junior Reserves’ activity book, they receive a certificate and ‘Junior Reserves’ patch.”

Site visitors, residents, and motorists are advised that noise from cannon firings is extremely loud. Visitors are warned to stay out of barricaded firing ranges for their own safety. Smoking is prohibited in the firing areas. Visitors are cautioned to turn down any hearing aids, warn children, and control pets during all firing. Due to circumstances beyond the staff’s control, all demonstrations are subject to change.

Fort Fisher, the largest earthen fortification in the Confederacy, once protected the port of Wilmington and the vital blockade running trade on the Cape Fear River. After two massive bombardments, the fort fell to a Union infantry assault on Jan.15, 1865. With the capture of Fort Fisher, Wilmington’s port — “the lifeline of the Confederacy”— was closed to foreign trade.

Fort Fisher offers visitors a variety of experiences, activities and historical treasures.  Visitors can tour the remaining portions of the historic earthworks along the shaded scenic tour trail that winds around a portion of the fort’s land face. They can also enjoy the many exhibits in the visitor center, ranging from a fiber-optic battle map of the 2nd Battle for Fort Fisher to amazing artifacts recovered from the shipwrecked blockade-runner Modern Greece.

The Fort Fisher State Historic Site is located at 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd. S., Kure Beach, N.C. 28449.  For more information on this program or the site, call (910) 458-5538 or visit

Fort Fisher State Historic Site is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information is available 24/7 at

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