Built on Cockspur Island at the mouth of the Savannah River, across from Tybee Island, Fort Pulaski is a massive, five-sided, brick fortification buttressed with 7.5-foot-wide walls. Completed in 1847, Fort Pulaski was able to mount 146 cannons, both on and inside the walls of the fort.
By January 1861, as Georgia prepared to secede from the Union, the fort’s condition had deteriorated alarmingly and was without cannon. Slaves from nearby plantations and five companies of Confederate troops spent the bulk of the year readying her for the oncoming tide of war – and just in time.
November of that same year saw the capture of Port Royal by Union forces, leading General Lee to believe most forts in the area indefensible. He ordered his troops back from all but Fort Pulaski, whose walls he felt were thick enough to withstand any attack the Union troops could muster from the distant shores of Tybee Island.
What Lee – and Fort Pulaski – were not prepared for were the new, rifled cannons the Union army brought with them and set up in eleven artillery batteries along Tybee Island’s north shore. After Fort Pulaski’s commander refused the order to surrender, Union troops commenced a steady bombardment of twenty cannons and fourteen mortars. Within two days, the steady rain of heavy shells had opened two thirty-foot holes Fort Pulaski’s defenses. Surrender was not far behind: the new rifled cannons changed the course of the war and the shape of fortifications from that time forward.
After the Civil War and an aborted modernization effort, Fort Pulaski was abandoned to the elements until, in 1924, it was designated a national monument. Fort Pulaski National Monument now welcomes some 400,000 visitors a year and remains a fascinating place to visit and explore: a true window on American history.
Fort Pulaski National Monument
US Highway 80 East, Savannah, GA
For more information, including hours and directions, please visit: www.nps.gov
Fort Pulaski Lodging
Any Savannah vacation is bound to be filled with a combination of history and modernity – from Savannah’s Landmark Historic District to all the great shopping, dining, and entertainment on River Street, Savannah has it all – so why not cap off your Savannah getaway with lodging that reflects the same, rich beauty and tradition of the past mixed with all the best that modern accommodations can offer. A stay at one of Savannah Villa’s Luxury Vacation Rentals is all that and more. Treat yourself to the best – book your Savannah Villa Vacation Rental now!