President James Madison called for the construction of a fort on Cockspur Island as a reaction to the War of 1812. Though construction wouldn’t begin until 1829, the need to protect Savannah from foreign invasion was an ever-present concern.
Designed by General Simon Bernard, Fort Pulaski was built by Captain J. F. K. Mansfield of the Army Corps of Engineers. Second Lieutenant Robert E. Lee was involved in the construction from 1829-31.
One of numerous Third System fortifications, Pulaski would prove an important testing ground for military resistance to new weaponry in the Civil War. The “holes” or pock marks in the side of the structure are the result of rifled cannon fire during the Union siege in the Battle of Fort Pulaski (10-11 April 1862). Pulaski’s inability to withstand this sort of firepower made such coastal fortifications obsolete and changed military architecture forever.
The arched casemates surrounding the interior of the fort held large guns for defense.
The guns were aimed through ports like these, and before the introduction of the Parrott rifle were an imposing defense.
Several re-created barracks such as the one seen below can be found in the complex.
National Register of Historic Places