With the fall of Fort Fisher to US Major General Alfred Terry's and Rear Admiral David Porter's combined operation on January 15, Wilmington's days were numbered.
About 6,600 Confederate troops under Major General Robert Hoke held Fort Anderson and a line of works that prevented the Federals from advancing up the Cape Fear River.
Early February, the XXIII Corps arrived at Fort Fisher, and Major General John Schofield took command of the Union forces. Schofield now began a series of maneuvers to force the Confederates to abandon their defenses.
On February 16, Jacob Cox's division ferried across the river to confront Fort Anderson, while Porter's gunboats bombarded the fort.
On February 17-18, Ames's division conducted a wide flanking march to get in the fort's rear. Seeing the trap ready to close, the Confederates evacuated Fort Anderson during the night of the 18th-19th, withdrawing to Town Creek to form a new defensive line.
The next day, this line collapsed to increasing Federal pressures.
During the night of February 21-22, General Braxton Bragg ordered the evacuation of Wilmington, burning cotton, tobacco, and government stores.
Result(s): Union victory
Location: New Hanover County
Campaign: Operations against Fort Fisher and Wilmington (January-February 1865) previous battle in campaign Campaigns
Date(s): February 12-22, 1865
Principal Commanders: Major General John Schofield [US]; General Braxton Bragg [CS]
Forces Engaged: Cox's, Ames's, and Paine's Divisions (12,000) [US]; Hoke's Division, Hagood's Brigade (6,600) [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 1,150 total