Fort Macon - History and Facts | History Hit

Fort Macon

Steep Pines Fork, North Carolina, United States

Fort Macon is a nineteenth century fort which was captured by the Union in 1862 during the American Civil War.

Peta Stamper

14 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Rudy Umans/

About Fort Macon

Fort Macon in North Carolina, United States, was one of a series of forts originally built to protect the state’s main deep ocean port, known as the Beaufort Inlet. The park opened in 1936 and since has been the second most visited park in North Carolina.

Fort Macon history

The perceived threat was from countries such as Spain and Britain, who had both invaded the port in the 18th century. Whilst several attempts had been made before Fort Macon, they had been incomplete or unsuccessful.

In fact, Fort Macon was built in the aftermath of the War of 1812, as part of the Third System plan to protect America’s seacoasts. A sturdy five sided structure of brick and stone, construction of Fort Macon began in 1826 and, by 1834, the fortification was garrisoned.

However, the first major battle at Fort Macon was not with another country but during the American Civil War. Initially seized by Confederate forces, Fort Macon was later recaptured by the Union in the Battle of Fort Macon, which occurred between 23 March and 26 April 1862. By this time, the fort was unable to withstand the new developments in weaponry, something which had blighted all Third System structures.

Fort Macon was later used as a base in World War Two.

Fort Macon today

Today, Fort Macon is part of a state park offering not just ranger-guided tours of the fully restored fort, but surf fishing, nature trails, a protected swimming area and a place for grabbing refreshments – all free of charge.

The fort itself has stood the test of time – made of brick and stone with 26 vaulted rooms enclosed by walls that are 1.4 metres thick. Open year-round, Fort Macon offers a great glimpse into early US military history within beautiful natural surroundings.

Getting to Fort Macon

Located in Carteret County on the eastern end of Bogue Banks, Fort Macon is easily found by car. From the I-95 take US 70 east to Morehead City and turn south onto the Atlantic Beach Causeway. Cross the bridge over onto Atlantic Beach and NC 58 and you will find the fort at the island’s tip.

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