11 March 2007

Fort King George

Ok, so this post takes us back to near the begining of the year when I traveled to Darien, GA. More about that next post. This one is about Fort King George, just east of Darien, along the coast. This is where Georgia effectively began. To begin, the native Americans in this area were called Guale (pronounced WAlly). The Spanish, who had settled in St. Augustine in 1565, established missions in the area. But when the English settled in Charles Town (now Charleston, SC) they incited Indian raids, causing the Spanish to fall back to St. Augustine. In 1721, John "Tuscarora Jack" Barnwell got British approval and built here Fort King George. The fort was intended to create a buffer zone for the South Carolina colony from the Spanish in Florida, and the French to the west along the Mississippi river. The soldiers at the fort were known as His Majesties Independent Company, and was comprised mostly of older veterans of British wars who were considered too old for front line duty. But the weather, insects and disease had a toll on the garrison, killing two thirds of it in the first year, and in 1727, the fort was abbandoned. The original is now long gone, but has been reconstructed by the Georgia park service on the original site based on drawings and foundations found during excavation. Photo captions: Title photo shows the fort from the outside. The most prominent feature is the blockhouse, but in this photo also notice the parapet earthwork, palisade fencing, the sentry box, and the moat. The fort had four such sentry boxes, one on each corner to warn of attack. Next photo is the marker where they found remains of one of the Spanish missions.
Third photo is the marker for the fort itself. Fourth photo shows a small swivel canon to fire at invading armies. Next photo was taken from inside the blockhouse and shows the coastal defenses of the fort. Notice a couple things here: There is no moat or palisade fencing, because a land attack was not expected to come from the swamp. Also that the inside of the fort parapets, and the outside along the water, are covered in bundles of sapling to prevent erosion. Next photo shows a better view of the blockhouse. Here you can see the design of it. It was designed so if an enemy penetrated the fort, the defending soldiers could retreat inside and continue to fight. It is three stories high, the first being storage. The second floor held canon that could be fired at enemies inside the fort. The third story was built larger in order to have both horizontal and vertical musket portals, alowing defenders to fire down onto their attackers. Next photo shows the fort parade ground and (left to right) the Enlisted soldier barracks, Officers quarters, and guardhouse. The guardhouse served as a headquarters, brig, or infirmary. The next two photos show the monument to the soldiers who died here, and the graves where they are buried. Their bodies were found during excavations and were respectfully reburied together, each with a marker reading "Soldier of Fort King George." Next photo is the marker for sawmilling in the area, which was a big industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Following that is a photo of the ruins of one of the old sawmills. And finally, the last photo is a nearby marker for the birthplace of John Mcintosh Kell, who served as a Naval officer under Mathew Perry, and later in the Confederate navy.

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