Visited 19 Jan 2010 – Fort Pulaski is one of those places where you can actually see a turning point in history. In 1862 the major coastal fortifications were constructed of masonry, brick and stone. These Third System seacoast forts were designed to withstand bombardment from smooth bore cannon. With the advent of the more powerful rifled guns being introduced in the 1860s it was unclear if the large masonry Third System forts were still impregnable to rifled cannon fire. Fort Pulaski settled this issue and, in one 60 hour bombardment, obsoleted all of the Third System system forts built to that date.
The damage can still be seen on the southeast angle which was totally breached during the 10-11 April 1862 bombardment of the Confederate held fort by Union gun batteries. The angle was breach and the powder magazine exposed, forcing the surrender of the fort. You can still see the shell holes and some actual shells. You can see the large repaired area and you totally understand why the Third System Forts were suddenly obsolete.
Fort Pulaski is a must see fort if you are in the Savannah area, it is well maintained, well interpreted and just a gorgeous example of a Third System fort. It does only have a single tier of casemates but you can see examples of all the classic fort features and they do have a good number of mounted and dismounted cannons. One of the more interesting features is the large demilune that protects the single sallyport entrance. This demilune evolved over several decades to become what it is today with earthworks magazines and batteries. The moat is a fine example of a restored to operation moat and it is a beautiful example.
The internal parade is surrounded by casemates replete with displays of equipment and mounted arms. On our visit we were treated to a musket firing demonstration along with a guided tour. No shortage of interesting things to see.
There is also a Endicott Period gun battery, Battery Hambright, to the north of the fort. This was a small two gun, 3″ rapid fire battery that appears to never have been armed.
This post was written by JohnStanton on February 23, 2010