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Fort Pulaski National Monument

Fort Pulaski National Monument






Description of Fort Pulaski National Monument

Location: Chatham County, GA   Map

Constructed: 1829

Area: 5,623 acres (23 km2)


Fort Pulaski National Monument houses old American fortress that was constructed in 1829 under orders of Major General Babcock who was later replaced by Second Lieutenant Robert E. Lee. Fort Pulaski National Monument was named after Kazimierz (Casimir) Pulaski, Polish- American general. He immigrated to United States after his native Poland was defeated by a Russian Empire. He became an experienced trainer of the newly formed American army during American Revolution and particularly American cavalry thus receiving an honorable title of "the father of American cavalry". Despite his love for mobile and quick units his name was chosen to name this military fortification.


Fort Pulaski was part of military fortifications designed to defend the coast of United States. Before walls were erected wooden beams were driven inside marshy soil of the coast. Some reached a depth of 70 feet (21.3 metres). Then an estimated 25,000,000 bricks were used to construct Fort Pulaski. As you walk around perimeter of the stronghold you can notice numerous scars on the walls. These were caused by Union artillery during Civil War. On April 10–11, 1862 the fort was attacked by Union forces and after 30 hours of constant bombardment from the ground and sea Confederate forces were forced to give up their fortress.




Within six weeks of the surrender, Union forces repaired the Fort Pulaski and all shipping in and out of Savannah ceased. The loss of Savannah as a viable Confederate port crippled the Southern war effort. With the Fort securely in Union control, General David Hunter, commander of the Union garrison issued General Order Number 7, which stated that all slaves in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were now free. President Abraham Lincoln quickly rescinded the order, but later issued his own Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. At this time, Fort Pulaski was made a final destination on the Underground Railroad as slaves throughout the area were freed upon arrival on Cockspur Island.

The garrison of Union soldiers reached 600 during the initial occupation, but as the War dragged on it became obvious the Southern forces would not be able to retake the fort. The garrison was later reduced to about 250. Late in the war, the fort was turned into a prison for a group of captured Confederate officers known as "The Immortal Six Hundred." Thirteen of these men would die at the fort. After the war ended, Fort Pulaski continued as a military and political prison for a short while. It would house a Confederate Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Assistant Secretary of War as well as three state governors, a senator and the men who had commanded the fort after it had been taken by the South.




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