Fort Forrest

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Fort Forrest (1861-1862) - A Confederate U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1861 on Redstone Point near Manns Harbor, Dare County, North Carolina. Named Fort Forrest after Confederate Navy Captain French Forrest. Destroyed during the Union attack on 8 Feb 1862.

History of Fort Forrest

Established in 1861 by Confederate forces as a small shoreline fort across from Roanoke Island, designed to complement Fort Huger. Fort Forrest was built on two shorebound barges equipped with seven 32-pounder cannons. Fort Forrest and Fort Huger were both part of a plan to block passage of Union ships upriver. The plan included a line of 16 sunken ships and a line of pilings both designed to damage ship bottoms and slow their progress.

Garrisoned by Company E, 17th North Carolina Regiment, and Company A, 31st North Carolina Regiment.

Battle of Roanoke Island

A combined Union Army-Navy expedition assembled at Hatteras Inlet in February 1862 to take Roanoke Island and seize control of the sounds around it. This force was under the joint command of Union General Ambrose E. Burnside, (Cullum 1348), and Navy Rear Admiral Louis Goldsborough. The Union force consisted of sixty ships and 13,000 men while the Confederate garrison numbered only about 3,000.

On 7 Feb 1862, Union gunboats attacked all three of the Confederate forts on the sound side of Roanoke Island after being fired upon by Fort Bartow. Union troops were landed south of Fort Bartow. The Union gunboats were able to stay out of range of the fort guns and gunfire from the forts was ineffective. A naval battle ensued which lasted until darkness obscured the targets. The Confederate Navy was then forced to withdraw for lack of ammunition. Union forces were able to disembark on the undefended south side of the island and encamped there overnight.

Charge of Hawkins’s Zouaves Upon the Rebel Three-Gun Battey on Roanoke Island.

On the morning of 8 Feb 1862, the Union bombardment of the Island resumed and three brigades of Union troops assaulted the single three gun battery (Fort Russell) at the center of the island, quickly overrunning it and thereby gaining access to the rear of the three shoreline forts. By 5:25 pm on the afternoon of the 8th, the island defenses were surrendered to General Burnside, including all four forts and two field batteries. Union forces captured 42 guns and 1500 prisoners. Union losses included 200 killed, wounded, or missing while the Confederate losses amounted to 150.

Union forces occupied the island for the duration of the war and renamed all of the forts.

Fort Forrest was destroyed and burned during the Union attack on 8 Feb 1862.

Current Status

Marker and some remains.

Location: Manns Harbor, Dare County, North Carolina.

Maps & Images

Lat: 35.91043 Long: -75.76808

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