DescriptionFort Pulaski National Monument, 15 miles east of Savannah via US 80, occupies Cockspur and McQueens islands at the mouth of the Savannah River. Fort Pulaski, on the eastern end of Cockspur Island, was preceded by Fort George (1761-76) and Fort Greene (1794-1804).
When a British fleet approached in 1776, American patriots dismantled Fort George. A hurricane demolished Fort Greene in 1804. Construction of Fort Pulaski began in 1829 and required 18 years and 25 million bricks to complete. The fort, in the shape of a massive irregular pentagon and surrounded by a moat crossed by drawbridges, was a link in an impressive chain of coastal forts built to protect the United States from foreign invasion. The long galleries are distinguished by fine brick arches. Today, it survives as one of the nation's best-preserved fortifications.
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Some 25 miles of trails crisscross Cockspur and McQueen's islands. Walking, hiking and bicycling are all popular outdoor pursuits. Vegetation on the islands—which has reverted to a more natural state since the abandonment of the fort in the late 19th century—consists of pines, grasses and other plants that grow in salt marsh and upland maritime forest habitats. This wilderness area also is home to a variety of animals, including white-tailed deer, manatees, bald eagles and loggerhead sea turtles.
The park offers daily fort tours and demonstrations of historic weapons. The visitor center has trail maps and artillery displays and shows a film about the fort's past. Picnic facilities are available. Note: Visitors should wear comfortable shoes and bring water and insect repellent, especially in the summer months. Allow 1 hour, 30 minutes minimum. Daily 9-5. Visitor Center open 9:30-4:30. Closed Jan. 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phone ahead to confirm daily program schedule. Admission $7; free (ages 0-15). Phone (912) 786-5787.
GEM DescriptionThe supposedly impenetrable 7.5-foot-thick walls of this 1847 masonry fort proved unable to withstand Union bombardment by rifled cannon on April 11, 1862.