A small stone marker dedicated to "OUR UNKNOWN CONFEDERATE SOLDIER" is located in the brick in front of the monument. An historic black and white photograph shows this plaque located in the grass at some point.
Images: Monument with Confederate re-enactors | Image of stone plaque in grass | Battle Acre and monument, circa 1955 | Image of Battle Acre circa 1915-1930, with markers and flagpole
Front face, on bronze plaque: IN MEMORY OF THOSE MEN / OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY / WHO FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS / MANNED THE GUNS OF FORT FISHER / UNDER COMMAND OF / COLONEL WILLIAM LAMB / MAJOR GENERAL W.H.C. WHITING / AND MAJOR JAMES REILLY.
Rear face, on bronze plaque: ERECTED BY / THE NORTH CAROLINA DIVISION / UNITED DAUGHTERS OF / THE CONFEDERACY / APRIL, 1932 / CECIL BRAWLEY LONG, PRESIDENT NEWTON / COMMITTEE / ANNIE ROGERS NEWELL, CHAIRMAN CHARLOTTE / AMANDA PARSLEY TAYLOR WILMINGTON / HANNAH ATTMORE LONG GRAHAM / MATTIE HADLEY WOODARD WILSON / ALICE DAVIS PECK WILMINGTON
Side, on granite: DURING THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES, / 1861-1865, FORT FISHER WAS THE DEFENCE / OF THE LAST OPEN PORT OF THE CONFEDERACY. / HERE A COMBINED NAVAL AND MILITARY / ASSAULT BY FEDERAL FORCES WAS REPULSED / ON DECEMBER 24 AND 25, 1864. / THE FORT WAS CAPTURED ON THE NIGHT / OF JANUARY 15, 1865, / AFTER THREE DAYS COMBINED BOMBARDMENT / BY MORE THAN 55 ENEMY WARSHIPS / AND ATTACKS BY 10,000 LAND FORCES. / THE GARRISON OF THE FORT, 1900 MEN, WAS / COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF NORTH CAROLINIANS / WITH THE EXCEPTION OF 350 SOUTH CAROLINIANS. /
Side, on granite: IN MEMORY OF THOSE MEN / OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY / WHO FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS / MANNED THE GUNS OF FORT FISHER / UNDER COMMAND OF / COLONEL WILLIAM LAMB / MAJOR GENERAL W.H.C. WHITING / AND MAJOR JAMES REILLY
Platform, stone marker in brick: OUR UNKNOWN / CONFEDERATE SOLDIER
An article in the Wilmington Star the following day also reported on a number of uninvited guests: a number of local cows joined the festivities, mooing loudly. Apparently several months earlier one of the cows, named Bossie, chewed the rope on the nearby flagpole marking Battle Acre and pulled down "Old Glory." According to the article, one attendee commented that the cow had succeeded in doing what "the whole Confederacy couldn't do - lower the American flag" (Butler, p. 212).
The unveiling had originally been planned for May 18; however, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce apparently wanted to capitalize on attendance at the event to promote and coincide with the opening of the inland waterway and so donated $250 to the dedication event in exchange for changing the date (Butler, p. 211).
Image of monument ceremony, circa 1950s | Image of men in Confederate uniform, circa 1961
Construction of Fort Fisher began in 1861, and the fort remained in Confederate control until January 15, 1865 when Union forces captured the fort following an assault beginning on December 24-25, 1864. Fort Fisher was critical for supplying Confederate troops as far north as Richmond, with its connection to rail lines. In 1865 Wilmington was the only remaining supply route for the troops in Northern Virginia.
In 1935 remains thought to be those of a Confederate soldier were found in the area and moved to the base of the monument. This is presumably the origin of the stone commemorating the Unknown Soldier that sits at the base of the monument.
11 July 2014 | Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina