Fort Ocracoke (Completed Project) 

During the Civil War, a Confederate fort was constructed on Beacon Island, about one mile inside Ocracoke Inlet, and where a fort had been situated during the War of 1812. Fort Ocracoke, also known as Fort Morgan (or possibly Fort Morris), was an octagonal shape and was built by volunteers beginning on May 20, 1861, the same day North Carolina seceded from the Union.


At its peak, there were about 500 Confederate troops around Ocracoke and the fort, including several hundred that were stationed on Portsmouth Island and the beaches to the south.


The fort was destroyed on September 17, 1861, and 135 years later, the remains were discovered by the Surface Interval Diving Company (SIDCO) because of information provided by Ellen F. Cloud, Chester Lynn, and Donald Austin.


Examination of the remains showed that they were above water until they were submerged by the hurricane of 1933.


C2, a "concretion" of artifacts recovered near Datum 1 on the breakwater proper. There were two of these and after C1 was broken down it contained over 150 artifacts ranging from pottery to glass.

Diagnostic Artifacts

A number of the diagnostic artifacts on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort during a temporary setting there in summer 1998. 

Makers Mark

3OKI003, a full maker's mark that led to the discovery of the Park Scenery design and its origins.

The Red Bull

The "Red Bull" or Park Scenery research. Click Here for the Full Report in PDF format.

Bottle Neck 1807

Artifact 3OKI105, an intact bottleneck is made of black glass and dates to 1807 or so (Hume Chart).

Broken bottle

This is a broken bottom, 3OKI103, of a "black" wine bottle dating around 1807, notice the blue tint left by the heat of the fires that destroyed Fort Ocracoke.

Fort Designs

Fort Ocracoke was built after the design of the fort at the battle of Sebastopol and would resemble one of the two designs. One is a field fort, and one is a star fort.

Brick craftsmen

The fort was built by 300-400 free black men, along with the soldiers and engineers. Very often, we have found items on the site that showed excelsior workmanship and a great pride in the job. For instance, some of the brickwork in the mouth of the cistern which forms a round opening - were built using bricks cut in thirds!  The photo shows brickwork at Fort Sumter, which was similar to Fort Ocracoke.

Site Map

Preliminary site map showing features and locations of recovered diagnostic artifacts.

Confederate Fort Flag

The 1st National Confederate Flag flies over Fort Ocracoke for the first time since 1861 on a temporary flagpole placed by SIDCO divers. A long-term flag is not practical with heavy winds and storms. The pole has been removed now that the project is finished.

Park Scenery Pottery detail

The projec'st "poster artifact", a large piece of the Park Scenery pottery as "vidcapped" by our partners at Nautilus Productions. There is a possibility of a documentary production on one of the major networks. More to come...


Large concentrations of pottery still exist on the site and will be left in situ as part of an underwater museum if that is to be allowed. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles!

Fort Ocracoke Burning

Image courtesy of Ocracoke Preservation Society (Charles Brown Collection)

The corner of the breakwater.

The corner of the breakwater on the southeastern side of the fort. This pre-existing breakwater was built up to keep the fort walls from washing away as in summer of 1861 they were losing a foot of height a day!

Fort Ocracoke Monument

The monument erected to commemorate the fort, during our 3rd year of work on the site. Our work had identified the fort site and put Ocracoke on the National Civil War Trail! The monument is located on the water's edge at Ferry Docks, Southern end of Ocracoke Island - just next to The Ocracoke Preservation Society.

Please reload