Fort Pulaski, cradle of Civil War history | New

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Visiting old forts that echo our nation’s history is a popular pastime, especially during the summer months. Fort Pulaski, on the Savannah River in Georgia, is a Civil War gem that displays era artillery in a rich natural setting.

Unlike many forts across the country, at Fort Pulaski visitors can see the scars of battle preserved directly on the exterior walls. Cannonballs have been lodged in the brick since its decisive battle in April 1862.

Fort Pulaski is part of the National Park Service. It was designed as a coastal fort to protect Savannah from any river attack. As with a number of forts built in the United States in the early 19th century, Fort Pulaski, commissioned by the United States Federal Government, took 18 years to build and was neither completed on time nor in garrison. .

The fort was built on the swampy island of Cockspur and was to rely on an elaborate dike system, designed by Lieutenant Robert E. Lee, to manage the drainage around the fort. In addition, a 7-foot-deep ditch was dug around the perimeter of the fort and a drawbridge installed, completed with a medieval portcullis to prevent any attacker from entering.

When Georgia seceded from the Union in January 1861, the state government conferred the fort on the Confederate States of America. Not all residents of Savannah, a wealthy trading port, agreed with the plan to take control of a federal fort.

However, once the occupation began, people from all walks of life joined in the effort. The fort was the only way to protect the route to and from the Atlantic Ocean from Savannah and if the Union controlled it the port was in danger of being cut off.

It turns out the takeover was executed by 200 Savannah militiamen demanding the keys to the fort from two guards who surrendered without issue. Three months later, the Civil War broke out.

Unfortunately, the fall of the fort and the Confederate occupation were new artillery technology. When pressure was brought to the Port of Savannah via a blockade ordered by President Abraham Lincoln, Confederate soldiers abandoned the nearby island of Tybee.

The opportunity was seized by the Union Army and it was the rifled cannon, capable of firing a spiral projectile at a distance of over a mile, that enabled Union soldiers to break through. the strong. Long repaired, the fort’s restoration efforts have retained traces of cannonball damage on two of the walls facing Tybee.

The fort is now managed by the National Park Service and makes a perfect excursion from Savannah. The fort has a reception center as well as interpretation panels placed around the property. Miles of walking trails with sandy trails through the swamps are a good way to absorb the scenery and imagine the hardships the Civil War brought Americans on both sides.


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