A scheme was set on foot for the improvement by canalization of the Cape Fear river above Wilmington under a Federal project of 1902, which provided for a channel 8 ft.
The country is rolling, with moderately high hills, moderately deep valleys and rapid streams. West of Wilmington there rises a ridge which crosses the state in a north-westerly direction and forms a watershed between Christiana and Brandywine creeks, its highest elevation above sea-level being 280 ft.
The national government also made appropriations for opening an inland waterway from Lewes to Chincoteague Bay, Virginia, for improving Wilmington harbour, and for making navigable several of the larger streams of the state.
Long was begun in 1898 and the bar has been deepened, and further improvements of the inner harbour at Wilmington (which is nearly landlocked by a long narrow island lying nearly east and west across its mouth) were begun in 1907.
Flow into Brandywine and Christiana creeks, whose estuary into Delaware river forms Wilmington harbour; those of the S.W.
But the assembly, the members of which were nearly the same as those of the congress, refused to interrupt the meeting of the congress, and in the next month the governor sought safety in flight, first to Fort Johnson on the Cape Fear below Wilmington and then to a man-of-war along the coast.
Charleston was attacked without success in 1862, but from June to August 1863 it was besieged by General Gillmore and Admiral Dahlgren, and under great difficulties the Federals secured a lodgment, though it was not until Sherman appeared on the land side early in 1865 that the Confederate defence collapsed, Fort Fisher near Wilmington also underwent a memorable siege by land and sea.
Although blockaded by the Union fleet, Wilmington was during the Civil War the centre of an important intercourse between the Confederacy and foreign countries by means of blockade runners, and was the last important port open to the Confederates.
Being ordered to co-operate with Sherman in North Carolina, Schofield moved his corps by rail and sea to Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in seventeen days, occupied Wilmington on the 22nd of February 1865, fought the action at Kinston on the 8 - 10th of March, and on the 23rd joined Sherman at Goldsboro.
A settlement was established here in 1730 and was named New Liverpool; about 1732 the name was changed to New Town; in 1739 the town was incorporated, was made the county-seat and was renamed, this time in honour of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington (c. 16 731 743).