Often call the ‘Gibraltar of the South’ in its day Fort Fisher was an almost impregnable fortress keeping the port city of Wilmington safe from Union attack. It was only felled by an attack from practically the entire Union fleet. Well, that and a General named Bragg refused to help the troops at the fort. This is the tale of General William Whiting who, mortally wounded at Fort Fisher, returns to keep a ghostly eye out to sea from it’s parapet.
It was the last days of Fort Fisher. Col. Lamb, who was in charge of the fort, desperately needed supplies. He wrote to General Bragg who was stationed in Sugarloaf that all he could say and all the General could do was ‘Attack, Attack’. But no such attack came. Instead it was a lone General who sailed a ship to the fort and walked in among the battle and said “Lamb my boy, I have come to share your fate”.
That General was William Whiting.
Born in Mississippi, first in his class out of West Point and was once a commander of a division of the Army of northern Virginia. Whiting was an extremely brave man. But bravery alone wasn’t enough to win the day this time. Launching a counterattack with what men they had left, Whiting and Lamb fought in hand to hand combat. Told by a Union officer to surrender, Whiting replied “Go to Hell”. Not long after, the General was mortally wounded and taken prisoner, where he died.
But the story is that if you go to Fort Fisher at dusk, you can see the ghost of General Whiting, standing watch at the parapet. Still looking out for ‘Gibraltar of the South’.