A ceremony today in Wilmington is honoring black soldiers who served in the Civil War. A North Carolina Highway Historical Marker will be unveiled just outside the National Cemetery in the city. Jim Steele is the manager of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. He says a combination of free blacks and former slaves participated in a fight to take the fort.
Jim Steele: "Two divisions of United States soldiers attacked Fort Fisher on January 15th of 1865 and fully one division, at least 3,000, were what were then known as the U.S. Colored Troops back when the army was segregated and so they played a significant role in the Fort's capture and in the subsequent campaign to capture Wilmington."
Steele says the fall of Wilmington closed one of the last ports the Confederacy could rely on to supply the war effort.