Fort Fisher hosting day of living history, showcasing Medals of Honor is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Historian and Civil War reenactor David Meisky. Courtesy photo.
Historian and Civil War reenactor David Meisky. Courtesy photo.

In commemoration of the 151st anniversary of the second battle of Fort Fisher during the Civil War, the historic site is hosting a day of living history on Sat., Jan. 16.

“We’re remembering the capture of the fort by Union forces, which really caused the war to start slowing down because Confederate soldiers couldn’t get supplies in,” said John Moseley, assistant site manager of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

Though the event is annual, a different topic is chosen each year. The 2016 theme centers on the 72 Medal of Honor recipients that fought at Fort Fisher. A new exhibit featuring the Union soldiers, sailors and marines that received the award (Confederate troops were not eligible as they were not “American”) is on display in the museum and includes five medals on loan from the United States Navy.

“This is our way to tell a little-known part of U.S. history,” said Moseley. “What we’re trying to do is explain the history of the Medal of Honor.”

Outside the museum, visitors will be able to watch demonstrations and reenactments on Saturday. These will include the shooting of cannons and artillery as well as special tours of the grounds, lectures and children’s activities such as the painting of miniature soldiers (weather permitting).

Special speakers include two historians: reenactor David Meisky, who plays Confederate general, businessman and politician William “Extra Billy” Smith, and local author Richard Triebe. They will be disussing the culture and currency of the Confederacy and the prisoners of war held at Fort Fisher, respectively.

Though there will be reenactors dressed in period attire, event organizers emphasized that the program is one of living history rather than pure reenactment.

“A reenactment would have soldiers running around and shooting at each other,” Moseley said. “Living history has more demonstrations to get an understand of what these men went through.

“We want to show that these soldiers, whether they were wearing gray or blue, all went through the same things,” Moseley added.

Saturday’s event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to the public. Fort Fisher State Historical Site is located at 1410 Fort Fisher Blvd. S. in Kure Beach.