A Step Into History... Fort Pulaski
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
I first visited Fort Pulaski as a child on a church trip. I still remember my feeling of awe when I saw its moat, drawbridge, cannons, and hidden passageways. This past June, my two boys also got to have that experience. Hopefully, stepping into history moved them as much as it did me the first time!
Fort Pulaski was built after the War of 1812 on Cockspur Island to defend Savannah’s river port from foreign invasion. It was named after Count Casimir Pulaski, a Polish hero of the American Revolution who died defending Savannah in 1779. Ironically, the fort’s first and only battle was against the United States during the Civil War!
When the Civil War began, Georgia Governor, Joseph E. Brown, ordered state militia to seize the fort. In April 1862, the U.S. Navy retook Fort Pulaski using new rifled cannons which bored through Pulaski’s fortified walls and threatened the main powder magazine. Confederate commander, Col. Charles H. Olmstead, was forced to surrender. Federal troops occupied the fort until the war was over and used it to imprison a group of Confederate officers known as the “Immortal Six Hundred.”
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge declared the fort a National Monument, but when World War II began, the fort was made active again. It was a section base for the U.S. Navy. Today, Fort Pulaski is open to the public and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Step into history, and visit Fort Pulaski!