Tag Archives: Fortifications of Coastal Georgia

Ruins of Wormsloe, 1740s, Savannah

Noble Jones was one of the original settlers of Georgia, coming to the colony with General James Oglethorpe in 1733. He applied for a land grant on the southern end of the Isle of Hope but the grant wasn’t formally approved by George II until 1756. Construction on the fortified tabby-and-wood house began around 1739 and was completed around 1745. The fortifications were seen as a necessary foil for a potential Spanish invasion.

Jones named the plantation Wormslow. It was originally thought that this was a reference to the silkworms that optimistic early colonists hoped would make Georgia a leading producer of silk, but in fact it was a prominent place name in the English-Welsh borderlands from which the Joneses came to the New World.

Noble’s son, Noble Wimberly Jones (c. 1723-1805) was the next owner and spent little time at the estate, preferring life in the city of Savannah. His sister, Mary Jones Bulloch also had a life estate in the property. The ruins of the first house remain today as material evidence of Georgia’s earliest days.

In contrast to his loyalist father, Noble W. Jones was a Whig, and after service in the provincial and state legislature pursued a career in medicine. He was elected to the Continental Congress but was unable to serve. Still, his dedication to the cause of revolution earned him the moniker “Morning Star of Liberty”.

George Jones, son of Noble Wimberly, was the next owner, and his son, George Frederick Tilghman Jones changed the spelling from Wormslow to Wormsloe. He also changed his own name to George Wymberly Jones and then added the surname De Renne. He was an active builder of improved structures on the property and was a large slave owner. De Renne was also an important collector of early Georgia documents and manuscripts, reprinting many rare items. The family is still involved in these pursuits to this day. A later descendant, Wymberly Wormsloe De Renne fell on financial hard times just before the Great Depression and opened the estate, with the fine gardens he had developed, to the public. Wormsloe Gardens became a prominent tourist attraction. Wormsloe House remains in the family but the surrounding grounds became a state historic site in 1979. One of the best events in Savannah, the annual Colonial Fare & Muster is staged here each year.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Isle of Hope GA, Savannah GA

Fort King George, 1721, Darien

Fort King George Darien GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

The first British outpost in present-day Georgia, Fort King George was built and commanded by Colonel John “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell in 1721, under the auspices of South Carolina Governor Francis Nicholson. Upon its construction it was the southernmost fort in Bristish North America, manned by His Majesty’s Independent Company of Foot. The British claimed the land along the Altamaha River as part of the South Carolina colony as a protection against Spanish forces, who sought to expand their reach northward from Florida. Colonel Barnwell died in 1724 and a mysterious fire claimed the fort in 1726. Rebuilt, it remained in use as a garrison until 1732 when it was officially abandoned. Upon its ruins General Oglethorpe founded Darien in 1736.

Fort King George Darien GA Colonial Stockade Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

The blockhouse was built of cypress logs. Its construction proved no simple matter in the wilderness of Coastal Georgia. Though Nicholson and Barnwell had requested fit young soldiers, they were instead supplied with members of the Regiment of Invalids, veterans who in one way or another were not capable of heavy service. The British welfare system of the day allowed them light duty and by 1722 about 100 soldiers were sent from a hospital in Port Royal, South Carolina, to Fort King George.

Fort King George Darien GA Stockade Gun Embrasure Port Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

From embrasures (gun-ports) on the top level of the blockhouse, soldiers kept watch over the Altamaha River delta. Guardhouses, or sentry towers, were also essential to the site’s security.

Fort King George Darien GA Sentry Guardhouse Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

None of the original fortification survives; the structures seen today were built using original plans in 1988. Besides the blockhouse, an officers’ quarters and workshop were also reconstructed.

Fort King George Darien GA Outbuildings Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Fort King George Darien GA Interior of Residence Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Barracks were located at the rear of the property and provided quarters for His Majesty’s Independent Company of Foot.

Fort King George Darien GA Barracks Exterior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Fort King George Darien GA Barracks Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Fort King George Darien GA Barracks Hearth Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Black Island Creek flows behind the barracks.

Black Island Creek from Fort King George Darien GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA

Fort Pulaski, 1847, Cockspur Island

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Evidence of Civil War Bombardment Parrot Rifles Moat Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

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.

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Construction Third System Fortress Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Third System Fortress Civil War Seige Moat Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

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.

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Casemates Arches Parade Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

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.

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Arches Third System Fortress Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The arched casemates surrounding the interior of the fort held large guns for defense.

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Third System Fortress Civil War Seige Bunks Gun Port Embrasure Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The guns were aimed through ports like these, and before the introduction of the Parrott rifle were an imposing defense.

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Third System of Coastal Fortifications Gun Port Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Several re-created barracks such as the one seen below can be found in the complex.

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Third System Fortress Bunks Quarters Civil War Seige Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Casemates Arches Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort Pulaski National Monument Cockspur Island GA Savannah Area Antebellum Arches Casemate Gun Cannon Third System Fortress Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Cockspur Island GA

Gun Emplacement, 1898, Sapelo Island

This remnant of a gun emplacement is evidence of the strong military presence along the eastern seaboard during the Spanish-American War.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Fort Frederica Barracks, 1742, St. Simons Island

 

The entry tower is all that remains of the barracks, which were built to house 100 men. The building took the form of square with rooms surrounding an open parade.

The walls were made of tabby one foot thick. During the campaign of 1742, the barracks served as both hospital and quarters for Spanish prisoners of war.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Frederica GA, St. Simons Island GA