Cape Hatteras during the Civil War had some daring exploits. The Rebs had it, the Yankees had it. In late August 1861the Union won the Battle of Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark, both Confederate forts near Hatteras Inlet, was a pivotal win for the Union. The Union attack signified many firsts in the war: the first combined Army and Navy operation, the first amphibious assault, and the first African American gun crew to fire on Confederates.
The Rebels removed the 1000 crystal Fresnel lamp to keep Union ships from utilizing it. They hid it in a nearby barn. Lots of turmoil resulted as the Yankees searched for it. People were beaten and buildings burned, but the Fresnel lamp remained hidden. IN 1865, about 28,000 of General Sherman’s troops marched within yards of it.
After the war, the lens was recovered, shipped to New York, then to Paris for repairs then returned to the new Hatteras lighthouse being built. But not until 2002 did a researcher discover that the lamp was not missing at all, but had been returned to the new lighthouse.