This past November I took a trip to Savannah, Georgia. I was able to steal away and visit Fort Pulaski National Monument. The fort is located on Cockspur Island just east of Savannah.
Following the War of 1812, President James Madison ordered a new system of coastal forts to protect the U.S. from foreign invasion. The fort in Savannah was began in 1829 under the direction of Major General Babcock and then later Second Lieutenant Robert E. Lee. In 1833, while still under construction, the facility was named Fort Pulaski in honor of Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish soldier and military commander who fought in the Revolutionary War under George Washington.
The walls of the Fort are eleven feet thick, thought to be impenetrable except by only the largest land artillery at the time. This train of thought was derailed when in April of 1862, almost a year to the date of the firing on Fort Sumter, Union forces that landed on the island began to lay siege to Fort Pulaski and open fire with new rifled cannons. From a distance of 4-5 miles away the Union force fired 36 cannons including the new James Rifled Cannon and Parrot Rifles for 30 hours at the walls of the fort. It wasn't until after the fort's corner walls were breached and shells passed dangerously close to the powder magazine, that the commander, Colonel Charles H. Olmstead gave the order to surrender. This was a decision that would haunt him the rest of his life. From April 1862 onward, the fort would remain in Union control.
When it became apparent that the fort would not be retaken by Confederate forces the garrison was reduced in staff and the facility began to house Confederate Prisoners of War. After the war, The Fort continued as a Military and Political prison for a short time. It housed the Confederate Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War and three State Governors and a Confederate Senator.
|This is the demilune outside of the main fort entrance. It is basically an Island with earth work walls that housed a battery of artillery.|
|You can still see one of the Union artillery projectiles still embedded in the fort's wall.|
|This section of the fort, located at the corner, has been rebuilt. Pictures taken after the attack showed extensive damage to the wall.|
|Look closely and you can see sea shells in the wall.|
|Inside the parade grounds of the fort.|
|This room was the Post Chapel.|
|The architecture of the fort is simplistic and beautiful at the same time. It is estimated that over 20,000,000 bricks were used in the construction of this facility.|