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"Confederate 6-gun fort guarding the entrance to Bogue Inlet; burned by Union troops, Aug. 19, 1862. Remains, 1 mi. S.W." In the fall of 1861 North Carolina found its vital defenses at Hatteras Inlet had been compromised, making the sounds vulnerable to Union naval invasion. Confederate Brigadier General Walter Gwynn, in charge of coastal defenses from New Bern to the South Carolina line, strongly recommended construction of a series of small forts to protect critical inlets. Gwynn, working with North Carolina Adjutant General Richard Gatlin, proposed to erect a six-gun battery at Bogue Inlet on Huggins’ Island (later known as Russell’s Island). Additionally, a so-called “flying battery” would patrol the beaches along Bogue Banks with the objective of prohibiting landing parties from establishing a foothold. The troops stationed at Huggins’ Island fort were expected to cooperate with the “flying battery” on the beach. Construction of the fort was completed in December 1861 with labor supplied by local slaves working alongside the troops detailed for that purpose.
Captain Daniel Munn’s Company of Artillery, North Carolina Local Defense Troops, was then stationed at the fort to man the cannons. Captain Mann’s Company, mustered in for twelve months service on January 1, 1862, did not remain long at the fort. They were ordered to join General Lawrence O’B. Branch’s Brigade at New Bern in March, and they took the cannons with them as they marched out of Swansboro. Several of the cannons were captured by Union troops during the Battle of New Bern on March 14. On August 19, 1862, a Union force commanded by Colonel Thomas G. Stevenson of the 24th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry made a reconnaissance to Swansboro. During the expedition the fort at Huggins’ Island was burned, the barracks and ammunition magazine collapsing into ashes. Only the earthen embankment remained as evidence of the fort’s existence. Those earthworks, however, have somehow dodged development and erosion, and are now the only unspoiled example of Confederate earthwork fortifications surviving on the North Carolina coast. Huggins’ Island is now a part of Hammocks Beach State Park.
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. 9
Tideland News, July 3 and 10, 1996
New Bern Sun Journal, July 6, 2005.
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.