Fort Pulaski, Savannah
Located on Cockspur Island at the mouth of the Savannah River and started to be built 1829, the new fort was named Fort Pulaski in honor of Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish soldier and military commander who fought in the American Revolution under the command of George Washington. Wooden pilings were sunk up to 70 feet (21 m) into the mud to support an estimated 25,000,000 bricks. Fort Pulaski was finally completed in 1847 following 18 years of construction. Walls were seven feet thick, thought to be impenetrable except by only the largest land artillery- which at the time were smooth bore cannon. These cannons had a range of only around a half mile, and the nearest land (Tybee island) was much further away than that. It was assumed that the Fort would be invincible to enemy attack.
For the first time the North used a new refinement in cannon design, the rifled cannon, could fire a rifled projectile that could go farther (4–5 miles) than the larger and heavier smoothbore cannonball (.5 mile.) Within 30 hours of starting its attack, the rifled cannon had breached one of the fort's corner walls. Shells now passed through the fort dangerously close to the Fort's main powder magazine. Reluctantly, Rebel Colonel Olmstead surrendered the fort.
After Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation, Fort Pulaski was made a final destination on the Underground Railroad as slaves throughout the area were freed upon arrival on Cockspur Island.
There is a trail of almost 1 mile that leads out to the light house, which is of interest in itself. It was built between 1837-39. It housed a fixed white light from five lamps with 14 inch reflectors that shone 9 miles at a height of 25 feet above sea level. It is built on an oyster and mussel bed. This lighthouse is unique in that the base is shaped like the bow of a ship to reduce the impact of the waves on the structure. Visitors mostly access the beacon by kayak since even at low tide there is a channel that does have a current.
Fort Pulaski is about 15 minutes away from Savannah. The fort was built during peacetime as part of a project to secure the Atlantic coast from invasion. It sprang into action during the civil war when it was seized by the Confederates to protect against a naval blockade of ships leaving the Savannah harbor. Union forces fired upon the fort from nearby Tybee Island and regained control. The fort was used to house Confederate prisoners of war and was later abandoned.
For more information, feel free to visit my Fort Pulaski page.
Built to protect the coastline from invasion in the 1800's. The brick walls were 7 feet thick and there was a 48 foot moat around the fort. In 1862 Union troops directed rifled cannon fire at the fort breaching the southeast angle.forcing the men to surrender. It is a national monument and an interesting piece of history to visit.
Fort Pulaski is just outside of the city of Savannah. It dates back to before the civil war. It is part of the National Park system and they have daily musket and cannon displays.
The fortifications look out over the savannah heading out to the river. There are bike trails, fishing and kayaking.
And it's just plain fun to play in a fort and climb on cannons. Really...it is.
As you tour the fort , think of what is like when it was in active military use.
During Confederate accupation, there were 385 officers and men. Federal strength reached a peak of 1.100. Each side lost one man here.Although the fort was designed for 140 canon, Union troops installed only 60.
During the winter in 1864 the northheast southeast, and part of the south casemates
were used as a military prison holding Confederate officers under miseble conditions. After the war, several political prisoners were held here.
This huge triangular piece of land, bordered on all sides by the moat, protected the rear or
"gorge wall" of the fort.
During the Civil War, this area was flat with a surrounding parapet and contained outbuildings and various storage sheds. The large earthen mounds, overlay four powder magazines and passageway to several gun emplacements.
A part of the fort's overall defense, the drawbridge is constructed in such a way as to make forced entry difficult. As it is raised a strong wooden grille, called the portcullis, drops through the granite lintel doors are closed behind that. An inclined granite walk leads between two rows of rifle slits, pst another set of doors, and into the fort.
Cockspur Island was originally a series of small hummocks surrounded by salt marsh. It is now mostly dry land because dredged materials have been deposited outside the
dikes around the fort.
McQueens Island however, is mostly virgin salt marsh. Temperatures range from 20F in winter to 100F in summer.
Visit Fort Pulaski. I know that I love walking around old forts. Fort Pulaski became a National Monument on October 15, 1924.
In April of 1862 Union troops breached the southeast angle by using cannon fire. Union Major General David Hunter ordered the release of all area slaves immediately after capturing the fort. Many of them were recruited into the Union army.
There is a 17 minute long video shown at the Visitors Center. Rangers lead talks and demonstration daily in the summer and on weekends the rest of the year.
Fort Pulaski and Fort Jackson are the two more known. Just outside of town and on the adjacent islands.
This the raer section of the fort contains the sally port, or fort entrance. officers lived in most of the rooms here. Today several
are furnished to represent various aspect of life at the fort.