Fort Pulaski, named after Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, was one in a series of forts built as part of the United States’ coastal defense system. Fresh out of West Point, Robert E. Lee was assigned to oversee the construction of Fort Pulaski until his transfer in 1831.
Inside the fort’s “impenetrable” 7-11 feet thick and 32-foot-tall walls (25,000,000 bricks), was home to several soldiers, supplies, ammunition, and a series of cannons. When Georgia seceded from the Union on January 19, 1861, the fort was immediately seized by approximately 134 men from the State militia, commanded by Confederate Colonel Charles H. Olmstead. On April 10-11, 1862, Union Brigadier General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s troops began a fierce bombardment of the Confederate force within Fort Pulaski. After 30 hours and 5,275 shots (the first “rifled” barrels), a breech was made in the fort’s southeast wall forcing the Confederate soldiers to surrender.
The Union army then used Fort Pulaski as a storage area for weapons, ammunition, and prisoners.
The fort is now a national monument that’s open to the public. As luck would have it, we live a mere five minutes away from this fascinating piece of American history. Please join me now for a brief walk back in time.
The fort is surrounded by a moat, complete with large fish and alligators.
The only access to the interior of the fort is via a thick plank drawbridge
Inside the fort walls
View from the top of the fort. That’s Hilton Head Island, S.C. in the distance.
Large container ships pass by the fort on their way to Savannah