Braxton Bragg Delivers Fort Fisher to the Enemy
The hero of the Wilmington campaign after a timid Braxton Bragg delivered Fort Fisher to the invader, was General Robert F. Hoke, appropriately known as the “Stonewall of Forks Road.” There his troops held off successive assaults of Northern forces, and retired only after General Johnson Hagood on his right flank was overwhelmed by vast numbers. Read more of Hoke and Forks Road at The victorious invader rewarded Bragg by naming a North Carolina military post after him.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Wilmington, North Carolina

Braxton Bragg Delivers Fort Fisher to the Enemy:
“General [William] Whiting, who was to die shortly after the battle from his wounds, attributed the loss of Fort Fisher “solely to the incompetency, the imbecility and the pusillanimity” of Braxton Bragg. “He could have taken every one of the enemy,” Whiting wrote, “but he was afraid. After the fleet stopped its stream of infernal fire to let the assaulting columns come on, we fought them for six hours from traverse to traverse and parapet to parapet, 6,000 of them. All the time Bragg was within two and a half miles, with 6,000 of Lee’s best troops, three batteries of artillery and 1,500 reserves. The enemy had no artillery at all. Bragg was held in check by two Negro brigades while the rest of the enemy assaulted and he didn’t even fire a musket.”
Many of the Confederate soldiers shared General Whiting’s sentiments. D.A. Buie thought: “Had Gen’l Bragg let Gen’l Hoke attack the enemy when he asked him to do so,” Fort Fisher would still be in Southern hands. “Bragg has had bad luck wherever he has been and always will, he is too fond of retreating or too fearful of being taken by the enemy.” Another soldier wrote: “The people in Wilmington seem to think the enemy ca take possession whenever they are ready. They have no confidence in Gen’l Bragg, and in fact the army has as little….the blame of the fall of Fort Fisher rests on his shoulders. And Chaplain John Paris said: “The Confederate General Bragg manifested as much timidity as the Yankee did boldness, according to the declarations of many of the officers.”
(North Carolina in the Civil War, John G. Barrett, UNC Press, pp. 279-280)