The Story Behind Hammocks Beach Earthworks

Huggins' Island Fort - Confederate 6-gun fort guarding the entrance to Bogue Inlet; burned by Union troops, Aug. 19. 1862. Remains, 1 mi. SW. On August 19, 1862, a Union force commanded by Colonel Thomas G. Stevenson of the 24th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry burned the Confederate fort at Huggins’ Island near Swansboro. Both the barracks and ammunition magazine collapsed into ashes.

In the fall of 1861, North Carolina found its vital defenses at Hatteras Inlet 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.

Among those was a six-gun battery at Bogue Inlet on Huggins’ Island, later called Russell’s Island.

Construction of the fort was completed in December 1861 and a company of artillery was then stationed at the fort to man the cannons. The company did not remain long at the fort as they were ordered to join General Lawrence O’B. Branch’s brigade at New Bern in March.

They took the cannons with them when they marched out of Swansboro.

After the fire, only the earthen embankment remained as evidence of the fort’s existence. Those earthworks, however, have somehow dodged development and erosion, and are now a part of Hammocks Beach State Park.

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