Fort Pulaski, Georgia

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski once guarded the approaches to savannah. Now it's a National Monument.
Fort Pulaski was built according to the standards that prevailed in Europe for about 300 years, complete with arrowhead bastions and a moat.

Fort Pulaski was built beginning in 1829. One of the Army engineers engaged in the work was a young West Point graduate named Robert E. Lee.

Fort Pulaski has a moat just like European forts with one major exception. This moat does have alligators!

Read the last two lines of the sign and weep for Western civilization.

By 1861 the fort was decrepit and manned only by a couple of caretakers. The Confederates moved quickly to prevent its being re-occupied.

Fort Pulaski's one battle in April 1862 rendered massive forts obsolete. Rifled shells (right) chewed into masonry like traditional cannonballs (left) could not. With shells rapidly penetrating closer to his powder magazine, the Confederate commander, Colonel Charles Olmstead, surrendered. It was as honorable as a surrender can be since it saved both his men and the attackers a completely unnecessary - and inevitable - slaughter.
Left: the powder magazine.

Below: battle damage. The fort was actually pretty badly battered but has been rebuilt.

View of a corner bastion.

Entrance to the Fort

Chain for raising the drawbridge.
Entrance to a sally port.
Drawbridge and main entrance
Looking out through the main entrance
Above: stonework inside the entrance. They certainly didn't get that stone locally
Looking toward the interior of the fort.
One of the doors at the inner entrance.

Interior Views

Below: inside the galleries. Below: reconstructed soldiers' quarters.

Gun Emplacements

Outer Works

Earthworks that once ringed the fort as an outer defensive perimeter are faintly visible.

Views From The Parapet

The general idea of star forts was that every inch of the perimeter should be exposed to fire from somewhere inside the fort.

Left: the main entrance is concealed by an arrowhead shaped earthwork. However, if an attacker takes the earthwork, he's completely exposed.

John Wesley

Evangelist John Wesley came to Georgia early in his career. It was not a happy stay. Wesley found himself the target of gossip and embroiled in controversies, plus an unhappy romance. (Wesley had only himself to blame for that - he was so worried about the appearance of impropriety that he broke off the relationship without explanation. It merely made the gossip worse. Then he was shocked when the woman married someone else.) His enthusiastic brand of Christianity didn't fit the more nominal, lukewarm religion of the settlers. He returned to England after only a couple of years, seriously demoralized. He still had some growing up  to do.

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Created 28 March 2007, Last Update 04 June 2020