Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember our veterans and the important work they have done for us. Cape Fear Riverboats invites you to take a quiet ride on the Cape Fear River and reflect on our veterans this Memorial Day. Here are a few memorial moments of history from the Cape Fear River.

Blockade Runners on the Cape Fear River

Remember your Confederate history while you take a cruise on the Cape Fear River this Memorial Day.

Wilmington was a critical seaport during the Civil War, 25 miles and safe from Federal bombardment from the ocean. Wilmington imported goods and arms from the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Cuba during the war.

Merchants ferried goods for the Confederacy across the Atlantic, where they were offloaded onto blockade runners: sleek, shallow steam ships that could navigate both the ocean and the shallower waters of the Cape Fear. Blockade runners dashed through the union blockade that extended along the entire Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The speedy ships often ran at night to avoid detection, and if spotted, tried to outrun or outmaneuver the Union ships.

James William Craig piloted a blockade runner on the Cape Fear and local author James Sprunt told the tale in the Wilmington Star. When Fort Fisher was captured by Union forces in 1865, a major source of goods and arms ended, and it marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Honors Veterans


While cruising the Cape Fear River, it’s hard to miss the Wilmington icon, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. The 1969 bridge memorializes veterans just as Memorial Day does, and it’s still North Carolina’s tallest bridge, 65 feet when closed and rising to 160 feet when open.

Veterans Remember the Battleship North Carolina

Across the Cape Fear River from Wilmington is the Battleship North Carolina, itself a veteran of World War II’s Pacific theater. Launched in 1940, the USS North Carolina led the country’s battleships and earned 15 battle stars, the most highly decorated ship of World War II.

After decommissioning in 1947, the ship languished until it was bought through the efforts of North Carolina schoolchildren who donated spare change and milk money. The beloved ship was brought home to Wilmington in 1960 where it now serves as a museum to the veterans of World War II.

Cape Fear Riverboats salutes the veterans who fought and died for our country, and encourages you to remember them as you ride the waters of the Cape Fear River this Memorial Day. Enjoy a 1-hour sightseeing cruise on the Captain J.N. Maffitt, the John Knox, or our newest boat, Jacob’s Run. Welcome aboard!

Cost: $10.00/Adults & $5/kids


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