Fort Russell (6)

From FortWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Fort Russell (6) (1861-1862) - A U.S. Civil War Fort established in 1861 on Roanoke Island, Dare County, North Carolina. Also Known as Fort Defiance and the "Three-Gun Battery". Captured by Union forces in 1862 and destroyed.


Established in 1861 by Confederate forces as an inland fort or redboubt on Roanoke Island designed to block the only north-south road. The road was narrow and flanked on both sides by salt water marshes. The three guns of the Confederate battery covered the road and a four or five acre clearing in front of it. The salt water marshes on the flanks were thought to be impenetrable.

Battle of Roanoke Island

A combined Union Army-Navy expedition assembled at Hatteras Inlet in February 1862 to take Roanoke Island and seize control of the sounds around it. This force was under the joint command of Union General Ambrose E. Burnside, (Cullum 1348), and Navy Rear Admiral Louis Goldsborough. The Union force consisted of sixty ships and 13,000 men while the Confederate garrison numbered only about 3,000.

On 7 Feb 1862, Union gunboats attacked all three of the Confederate forts on the sound side of Roanoke Island after being fired upon by Fort Bartow. Union troops were landed south of Fort Bartow. The Union gunboats were able to stay out of range of the fort guns and gunfire from the forts was ineffective. A naval battle ensued which lasted until darkness obscured the targets. The Confederate Navy was then forced to withdraw for lack of ammunition. Union forces were able to disembark on the undefended south side of the island and encamped there overnight.

Charge of Hawkins’s Zouaves Upon the Rebel Three-Gun Battey on Roanoke Island.

On the morning of 8 Feb 1862, the Union bombardment of the Island resumed and three brigades of Union troops assaulted the single three gun battery (Fort Russell) at the center of the island, quickly overrunning it and thereby gaining access to the rear of the three shoreline forts. By 5:25 pm on the afternoon of the 8th, the island defenses were surrendered to General Burnside, including all four forts and two field batteries. Union forces captured 42 guns and 1500 prisoners. Union losses included 200 killed, wounded, or missing while the Confederate losses amounted to 150.

Union forces occupied the island for the duration of the war and renamed all of the forts.

After capture Fort Russell was found to be armed with three guns, all on field-carriages; a 24-pounder Dahlgren howitzer, an 18-pounder field-gun, and a 12-pounder along with a large supply of ammunition in caissons.

Current Status

Marker and some earthworks remains.

Location: Just south of the intersection of Hwy 64 and Route 345 on Roanoke Island, Dare County, North Carolina.

Maps & Images

Lat: 35.88902 Long: -75.66013

See Also:



Visited: No

Personal tools