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Fort Pulaski, Forts, Georgia, Government building, Military building, Third System Fort, Tybee Island, military structure

Dates Visited



Construction of Fort Pulaski began in 1829 under the supervision of Maj. Samuel Babcock assisted by 2nd Lt. Robert E. Lee (1829-1831) and was completed in 1847 after 18 years and almost $1,000,000.


We have visited Fort Pulaski a couple times during trips to North Carolina, it is a nice stop just outside Savannah, Georgia.

Fort Pulaski is a massive five sided masonry fort with walls between 7 to 11 feet thick and upto to 32 feet high. It took approximately 25 million bricks to complete the post. When completed in 1847 the fort could mount 146 cannons but by the start of the U.S. Civil War only 20 were in place.

Georgia State troops occupied the fort in Jan 1861 as the U.S. Civil War became inevitable and held it until 11 Apr 1862 when a Union bombardment breached the fort walls. The breach of Fort Pulaski's walls by the new Union rifled cannons after 30 hours of bombardment signaled the end of the large masonry forts of the Third System. The breach in the southeast angle had exposed the north magazine and 40,000 pounds of powder to Union shells and exposed the fort to possible total destruction by a single shell. The 385 Confederate defenders under Col. Charles H. Olmstead surrendered at 2 pm on 12 Apr 1862 to Union forces under Gen. Quincy Gillmore.

The fort was garrisoned throughout the rest of the U.S. Civil War by Union forces. The breach in the southeastern angle was repaired within six weeks by the occupying Union forces. Fort Pulaski then became a Union prisoner of war camp and housed some 520 captured Confederate officers until July 1865. Thirteen of the prisoners died at Fort Pulaski and were buried across the moat from the north side of the demilune.

Two Endicott Period batteries were constructed north of the fort during the Spanish American War period but appear to never have been armed or garrisoned.

Fort Pulaski was considered invincible.


On the morning of April 10, 1862 Union forces asked for the surrender of the Fort to prevent needless loss of life. Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, commander of the Confederate garrison, rejected the offer. 30 hours later and after 5,275 shot and shell were fired against the fort Olmstead raised the white flag.

The quick reduction of Fort Pulaski took the world by surprise and signaled the end of the Third System Forts.

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