There was plenty of action around this area of Masonboro Sound. The Confederates worried about the Federals’ presence on the Lower Cape Fear and a possible siege of Wilmington. CSA General Braxton Bragg ordered a line of breastworks built from just below Wilmington at Fort Meares, one of the river batteries, east to Hewlitt’s Creek, near Masonboro Sound. This line gave the Confederate troops a defensive line to fall back upon to help protect Wilmington, in case Sugarloaf (a Confederate defensive position near present-day Carolina Beach) should fall. According to Fort Fisher’s Becky Thatcher, the federals attempted an unsuccessful landing between Wrightsville Sound and Masonboro Sound, in this same area. There are some structures still standing that were there during that time.
Sources: Becky Thatcher Fort Fisher, Moore’s Historical Guide to The Wilmington Campaign by Mark A. Moore.
UPDATE: Chris Fonvielle, who teaches history at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and has written several books about the Civil War, added this:
There was indeed a Confederate camp at Grainger’s Point along Hewlett’s Creek on Masonboro Sound. I discovered it in late November 1979. It was an entrenched encampment garrisoned by North Carolina troops. On the opposite or north side of Hewlett’s Creek was Confederate Camp Davis, the largest encampment site between Fort Fisher and Virginia Creek, the outer limits of the Lower Cape Fear defenses. Confederate authorities feared in part a landing by Union forces along Masonboro Sound or Wrightsville Beach and an advance on Wilmington by way of Whiskey, Hewlett’s or Bradley Creek. Camps on the mainland fronting Masonboro and Wrightsville sounds would have enabled Confederate troops to slow down the enemy until reinforcements could arrive and the city to prepare for an attack. That never happened, as Federal forces instead attacked Fort Fisher at the mouth of the Cape Fear River in 1864 and 1865. The site of the Grainger’s Point camp is now a residential development.
Date posted: September 24, 2012
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