USNA Midshipmen step in to help protect historic site from erosi - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

USNA Midshipmen step in to help protect historic site from erosion

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A lot of history surrounds residents in southeastern North Carolina, and preserving it is no easy task.

Now, erosion is threatening one of our most precious pieces of history -- Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson historic site.

Fort Anderson is the best preserved earthen fortification in the nation and one of the best preserved in the world.

According to historians, Fort Anderson was on of the "chain of forts" along the Cape Fear River that protected Wilmington during the Civil War.

It was the largest interior fort on the river and second in size only to Fort Fisher.

"Normally, you're dealing with erosion of private property. but in this case its precious state resource with the civil war fort and colonial times," said David Kriebel.

Kribel is a professor at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. Kriebel and some of his students made the trip to Brunswick County to evaluate an important piece of history that is in danger.

Erosion is slowly but surely uncovering a historic wharf that was once protected by marsh, and that's why the Army Corps of Engineers has sent for reinforcement.

There are still a number of unanswered questions about the wharf, but William Dry is the person historians believe the wharf was named after.

Dry was a prominent family in the existence of Brunswick Town. They believe William Dry II constructed the wharf sometime after 1737. His son, William Dry III, is believed to have taken over ownership from his father. 

William Dry III was the commander of the militia that drove out the Spanish privateers after they captured the town in September 1748. He was later the port collector for Brunswick during the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765-66 and was the last owner of Russellborough.

It is strongly believed that William Dry's Wharf was used by the Spanish during their capture of Brunswick in September 1748.

"Just in the day we've been here things are getting uncovered that weren't here yesterday," said Kriebel.

Kriebel's class spent the day evaluating the historic site as a part of their senior project.

The Midshipmen walked the unfamiliar territory to see what they could find. They uncovered items like pottery and smoking pipes.

The artifacts are now threatened because of the eroision and it's only a matter of time before the nation's best-preserved earthen.

The ocean engineering students will go back to Annapolis and create a plan of attack for the shoreline.

They plan to submit a solution to the Army Corp of Engineers in April for consideration.

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