24 June 2008

I beg to present you as a Christmas gift

Ok, this is Fort Mcallister, built in 1861 on the Ogeechee as a defense of Savannah's southern river approach. Captain John McCrady constructed it, and several features were added on recomendation by General Robert E. Lee. The fort's earthen construction proved to be much more formidable than brick, as it survived several attacks by ships, while Fort Pulaski, to the north, was made of brick and was destroyed in just one attack. When Pulaski fell, the Confederates obstructed the river, only allowing friendly vessels through. In July of 1862, the blockade runner Thomas L. Wragg, formerly Nashville, arrived after slipping through the Union blockade. For the rest of the year, Union attacks failed to destroy the fort or the Nashville. But on Jan 27, 1863, the USS Montauk attacked the fort with no real damage to it or the ship. On Feb 1, it tried again, killing the garrison commander Major John B. Gallie. The Nashville was finally sunk on Feb 28. Another attack on Mar 3 found the garrison cat killed, who loss was felt deeply enoughby the soldiers that it was included in the report of the battle. It was not until Dec 13, 1864 that the fort saw another major event when Sherman's army arrived from Atlanta. William B. Hazen's infantry stormed the fort, and overcame the 250 defenders under Major George W. Anderson. The battle lasted only 15 minutes, and resulted in 134 union casualties, with 48 Confederates killed and about 200 captured. Sherman's march to the sea was now officially over. When the fort fell, General William Hardee withdrew his Confederate forces from Savannah, and Sherman reported to President Lincoln, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah."

In the 1930's, Henry Ford, who lived nearby, purchased the site and restored it. It was donated to the state in 1958 by the International Paper Company, who had bought it from Ford. In 1980 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and became a State Historic Park. Above is a model of the fort as it would have looked in the 1860's.
Artifacts from the CSS Nashville
Projectiles fired at Fort McCalister.
Other artifacts found at the fort.
An example of a Sherman necktie. During the march to the sea, Sherman's army destroyed railroads, heating sections of rail and bending them around trees.
The entrance to the fort, with the bridge across the moat and the guard post.
One of the fort's land facing defenses, with the moat and pallisade defensive work visible.
The fort parade ground, where most activities happened, but became very deadly during an attack.
Hot shot furnace, where canonballs were heated
32 pounder gun that fired hot shots at wooden ships to light them on fire
Barracks room inside one of thebombproofs
A view from insode the moat with a good view of the pallisade
The 10 inch mortar, separated from the main fort
Looking from the mortar towards the fort. The mortar's access tunnel is visible in the lower left. The tunnel allowed the defenders to move between the fort and mortar while the fort was under attack.

Two of the fort's bombproof shelters
Inside another bombproof, this one holding shot and powder

Looking toward the site of Cheeve's Rice Mill, where Sherman watched the battle.
Parts of the machinery recovered from the CSS Nashville.

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