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15 Minutes (or so) Away by Car: Fort Pulaski

December 19, 2011

This week, we take another trip outside of Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District to highlight Fort Pulaski. The fort was built by order of President James Madison in response to the War of 1812. Fort Pulaski was built to protect the inland port of Savannah from naval attacks. The fort was constructed from 1829 to 1847 (completed under the direction of Robert E. Lee).

With 11 foot thick walls, Fort Pulaski was thought to be impenetrable except by only the largest land artillery – which at the time were smooth bore cannon. These cannons had a range of only around a half mile, and the nearest land (Tybee island) was outside of the range. In 1862 the Union Army successfully tested a rifled cannon on the fort, eventually leading to it’s surrender and, in the process, rendering all brick fortifications obsolete.

Following the war Fort Pulaski remained largely unused, and by the turn of the 20th century, it had begun to fall into disrepair. Fort Pulaski was declared a National Monument on October 15, 1924 by presidential proclamation. Responsibility of the fort was transfered from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933. Initial rehabilitation of the fort began under the direction of the Civilian Conservation Corps program, as part of the New Deal.

Weapons Demonstration at Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski is, in addition to being a National Monument, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is open to the public daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission to the fort is $5.00 per person, with a handful of select “fee free” days offered throughout the year. In addition to viewing the interpretive exhibits, taking in weapons demonstrations, and touring the fort itself, Fort Pulaski is a great place to visit for those who wish to see the coastal wildlife, relax near the ocean, and just enjoy a day outside.

Getting to Fort Pulaski from the Catherine Ward House Inn by car is very easy. From door to door, it takes about 20-25 minutes to drive between the two.

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