Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island, Savannah, Chatham County, GA
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Significance: Fort Pulaski was built in the second quarter of the nineteenth century by U.S. military engineers who hoped to guard against unwanted river approaches to the nearby port city of Savannah. It was part of a chain of brick fortifications constructed up and down the east coast and represented the premier defense system of its time. Creating Fort Pulaski took one million dollars, 25 million bricks, and eighteen years of labor. When it was completed (1847), Fort Pulaski was considered invincible. The fort remained untested until the Civil War. In January 1861, the Confederate States of America seized the fort for its use and protection. Union forces targeted the fort in April 1862; yet the Confederates were unafraid of the coming bombardment. They placed their faith in the fort's solidarity. Moreover, the Union army, camped on Tybee Island, was over a mile away. However, the distance between the batteries and the fort was covered easily by the rifled cannon, that unbeknownst to the Confederacy, were capable of shattering the fort's 7 1/2 feet thick brick walls. By noon the following day, the walls of the fort were breached and the main powder magazine threatened. The Confederate surrender only thirty hours into the battle marked the end of the era of masonry fortifications. The for was abandoned after 1880. It became a national monument in 1924; restoration efforts began in 1933.
Survey number: HABS GA-2158
Building/structure dates: 1829-1847 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1862 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1933 Subsequent Work