Taking a tour of the fort is pretty much a self-guided affair. The ranger guided tours offer more insight into the history of the area, but you can see the entire structure on your own.
The fort is surrounded by a moat whose water level is controlled by the dikes built around it. Protection was never an issue here, ironically, until the United States went to war with itself. Only a small number of soldiers guarded the fort from the time of its completion until its seizure.
In the interior of the fort, several of the original quarters remain as do the canons which once guarded it. There are signs along the way identifying the specific officers quarters and the types of canons. The second story offers a better view of the courtyard and the waterway the fort was built to guard.
"The Battle for Fort Pulaski", a seventeen minute video, is shown on request in the Visitor Center. I always like to see the National Park videos. Not only are they full of information, but it gives me time to sit down.
On February 19, 1862, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman ordered Captain Quincy A. Gillmore, an engineer officer, to take charge of the investment force and begin the bombardment and capture of the fort. Gillmore emplaced artillery on Tybee Island. A forward post, it contained a lighthouse, the ability to see ships navigating the waters around Fort Pulaski, and a refueling port for the Navy's coal-burning steamships.mainland southeast of the fort.
The photo shows how the fort was reinforced inside to withstand the prospective bombardment. The Union commander began the bombardment on April 10 after Colonel Charles H. Olmstead refused to surrender the fort. Within hours, Gillmore’s rifled artillery had breached the southeast scarp of the fort, and he continued to exploit it. Some of his shells began to damage the traverse shielding the magazine in the northwest bastion. Realizing that if the magazine exploded the fort would be seriously damaged and the garrison would suffer severe casualties, Olmstead surrendered after 2:00 pm on April 11.
Museum exhibits provide information on the history and significance of the site. A curriculum guide, based on state of Georgia standards, is available for teachers bringing school groups.
We waited for the ranger talk, which was going to be in about 15 minutes. Usually these talks are also quite informative, and if one is going to be given at a convenient time, it is recommended to go.
Since it was a relatively warm day, both of us had walked into the fort without our coats. Because a cold front came through, the wind picked up, so the ranger moved the talk indoors. We were all shivering and huddled together and I guess she thought we wouldn't be able to sit outside in the cold, dressed as we were for a hot day. While she was talking, fog moved in. So we did not see the outside wall of the fort where the damage had been done by the Union artillery, and where some shells remain stuck in the walls.
Another picture of this area in the fog is in the travelogue as the first picture.
Robert E. Lee was here as an engineer right out of West Point, and put in the drainage ditches to stabilize the fort. Because he was so familiar with the strengths of the fort, he advised the young Confederate fort commander to pull his troups back from Tybee Island because he thought they would be safer inside the supposedly impenetrable 7.5 foot thick walls of the 1847 masonry fort..
But in April of 1862, Union troops on Tybee Island directed rifled cannon fire at the fort breaching the southeast angle and giving them immediate access to the gunpowder magazines. A cannon shot that landed there would blow up the fort and kill everyone in it, so the commander surrendered. The accuracy and range of the rifled cannon rendered brick fortifications obsolete.
$3.00 - 7 Days for 17 years of age and older Maximum $6 per family
SCHOOL GROUPS and Golden Age Pass holders Free