Fort Macon to hold Civil War re-enactment

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 05:33 PM.

"We do show the cannons and that gives the sense of how the fort typically defended itself with artillery," Branch said. "These are all reproductions. We have one that we got in 2010 and the other two came last year in 2012. We have also recently got a replica of another cannon that we placed outside, what we call a parrot rifle that would have been used against the fort in the Union bombardment. Also we have a little naval gun that the Navy Department has loaned us, and we display that on the west wall out here. The only two cannons that were actually here that still exist are the two mortars on the parade ground."

Built in 1826, Fort Macon was used in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and later in World War II. The state acquired the fort in 1924, and it became North Carolina’s second state park. At the time the fort was overgrown after years of abandonment, Branch said.

"It was a tangle of total, veritable jungle of green," he said. "The entire parade ground was choked with full grown trees, briars, brush almost neck high in places. The walls had vines and ivy. Everything was entwined around the stair railings.

"In the rooms, the plaster and woodwork was collapsing and decaying. Lord knows how many snakes and critters were running around in here."

Branch has written two books about the fort, "The Siege of Fort Macon," a paperback, and "Fort Macon: A History," about the entire history of the fort through modern times.

The Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort during the 1930s, with anywhere from 125 to 250 men working during different periods for a year and a half. Fort Macon had its official opening as a functioning state park on May 1, 1936.

Today, it is one of the most visited of all state parks with more than a million visitors each year.

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