Construction on Fort Macon began in 1826 in response to the War of 1812 and other European conflicts. It was built as part of the Second System of US Fortifications. The Fort’s main claim to fame was the Civil War battle fought on April 25, 1862. Union forces commanded Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside had been working through eastern North Carolina. Brig. Gen. John G. Park, under Burnside’s command, was ordered to capture the Fort from the Confederacy. Union forces laid siege to the fort using four gun boats, floating batteries, and new rifled cannons. The fort took 560 hits. Confederate Col. White surrendered the fort the next morning. The fort remained under Union control for the rest of the war.
The fort was also used during the Spanish-American War and World War II.
Fort Macon was opened as North Carolina’s first state park in 1936. The fort and the surrounding area remain open to visitors. US Coast Guard Station Fort Macon is also located next to the state park.