Friday, June 1, 2012

Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island Lighthouse, GA

Today we spent the day at the Fort Pulaski National Mt. near Savannah, GA.  It one of the biggest, in square footage, forts.  The fort was built to guard the river approaches to Savannah, GA.  It is named after Count Pulaski a Polish hero of the American Revolution. It was built in 1829, cost $1 million, took 25 million bricks, and 18 years to finish.  
At the time is was the strongest fort ever built.  The design and materials were state of the art.  The fort was important during the Civil War.
There was a Coast Guard ceremony going on just before we got there and they were taking apart the stage area.  We thought this was funny.  The cannon being moved on the parade grounds.
We were told that when the Union was to attack the General had the men place these wood planks and mound dirt over them to stop the shells from destroying and igniting the powder magazines.  They would explode and destroy the fort completely.  They also dug trenched in the parade grounds to stop the cannon balls from rolling around causing damage.
Cannon,  the men would sleep in these same rooms with the guns.
Looking out at the officer's quarters.
The rooms where the cannons were kept needed to be ventilated since the men lived here.   The design where the holes are, you see in the floor, would vent out into holes on the outside edge of the floor.  There were also vent holes in the ceiling. 
On top of fort looking out toward Tybee Island.  You can see the Cockspur Island Lighthouse in the distance.
Draw bridge to fort.  You can see the mounds.  These were placed to make it very difficult to attack the fort.  They also housed the powder magazine, gun powder. 
Rog manning the guns.
There was a fire that exposed the fort showing a cut away of the construction of the fort.  It was built to with stand anything.
Rog at the Sally Port, double door entrance to the fort.
Rog out side the fort at the entrance to one of the mounds built to house the magazine and help to defend the fort
This is a model of the fort.  It shows how they had to drive 70ft. pilings into the ground then a base of wood planks on top of that to support the weight of the massive structure that was to be built on top.  If these pilings had not been placed the fort would have sunk in the marsh under the weight of the brick and guns.  Also note the arches above and below ground to support the weight of the wall of the fort.
This fort was the strongest fort of its time.  Many felt it was invincible and "as strong as the Rock Mountains".  Well its down fall was the invention of the rifle cannon.  The cannon had groves that sent the shell spinning into the air.  This made the shell go farther and it was more accurate.  The fort was hit so many times with this new shell that the wall was punched.  The generals gave up and the North won.  The shells are below: left, old type of cannon ball: right was the new rifle shell.  

Another interesting bit of info I learned at the fort was that General Sherman and the mayor of Savannah were Masons.  So after a little sit down it was decided not to burn down Savannah.  This is why so many beautiful homes are still left for us to admire. 
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