William Henry Chase Whiting, a brilliant engineer and West Point graduate in the class of 1845, designed and oversaw the construction of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. He finished the structure in the fall of 1859. The light flashed for the first time on November 1, 1859, just a few days after John Brown's attack at Harper's Ferry. At the outbreak of war, Whiting joined the Confederate Army and in 1862 was promoted to brigadier general. He was mortally wounded in 1865, during the massive assault by Union forces on Fort Fisher outside Wilmington. Whiting's design was so successful that after the Civil War three other lighthouses in the state - Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island, and Currituck Beach - followed its design.