April 9, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Michael Acosta


On Thursday, April 9, 2020 Michael Acosta will speak on the fall of Fort Fisher which guarded Wilmington, NC.  The purpose of this discussion is to introduce an often overlooked, yet important battle in the Civil War and bring it’s background and results into context with the closing of the war.  The discussion will center on the strategic importance of the area, the lessons learned by the military and how personalities and relationships between commanders can affect amphibious operations.  In addition, he will address the unique engineering that allowed Fort Fisher to be deemed the “Gibraltar of the South” and why it’s construction allowed the fort to persevere until the very end of the Civil War.

How critical was Fort Fisher to keeping the Confederacy alive, after all, it defended merely one port? The Union’s first attempt to take Fort Fisher was a miserable failure.  Was it due to the ineptitude of Major General Butler, the guarded stance of Admiral Porter, the robust defenses of the fort, or a combination of all of the above?  What did a 26 year old Colonel know and implement that made the fort so tough to defeat? The second attempt still had it’s command relationship issues, but ultimately was a success.  Why?  There were 73 Medals of Honor awarded surrounding Gettysburg, and 54 for the second battle of Fort Fisher…just how intense was the fighting?  Was naval bombardment really a critical factor in taking the fort?  What lessons learned from previous battles were in play at Fort Fisher? 

Michael is a member of the Round Table and a native of Texas. He is a retired US Marine aviator and officer who moved to Huntsville in the summer of 2017.  He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1998 with a Bachelors in History. He also holds a Masters in Management and an MBA from the University of Maryland.  He is a graduate of the USMC Expeditionary Warfare School, Command and Staff College, and the Joint Combined Warfare School.  He and his wife, of over 21 years, Janet Murphy, of Salisbury, MD have three children.  He is an avid Revolutionary War and Civil War buff and thoroughly enjoys dragging his family to various battlefield and historical sites around the country. Michael is a local Naval Academy Representative and volunteers actively supporting his children’s Scout units.