Tag Archives: The Civil War in Coastal Georgia

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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150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Black Union Reenactors Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Reenactors of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Encampment

On June 11, 1863 the seaport of Darien was vandalized and burned by Federal forces stationed on nearby St. Simons Island. The town was largely deserted, most of its 500 residents having sought refuge inland. Lost were public buildings, churches, businesses and most private residences. Conducting the raid were units comprised of among the first African-American troops to serve the Union cause, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers under Col. Robert G. Shaw, and the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers under Col. James Montgomery. The burning of Darien, undefended and of little strategic importance, was one of the most controversial events of the Civil War. (Text of  historic marker placed by the Lower Altamaha Historical Society and the Georgia Historical Society in 2001). The movie Glory was based loosely on the story of the 54th Massachusetts.

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Union Reenactors at Tent by Darien River Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Union Reenactors 54th Massachusetts Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Young Reenactor in Uniform by River Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Large crowds were on hand to see reenactors demonstrating all aspects of Civil War camp life and techniques at the Darien Riverfront Park. The reenactors had as much fun as the visitors and it was a perfect day for such a commemoration. Even the “spirits” of the era were on display!

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Whiskeys Liquors Alcohol in Antique Style Bottles Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Union Reenactors Canon Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Union Reenactors Firing Canon Crew from Fort McAllister Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Union Reenactors Firing Canon Crew from Fort McAllister State Park Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

A canon crew from nearby Fort McAllister State Park was on hand, with hourly firings. This was certainly one of the more popular attractions of the day.

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Confederate Reenactors in Period Clothing in front of Adam Strain Building Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Missy Brandt and Will Wilson pose in front of the Adam Strain Building, which survived (with damage) the Burning of Darien and stands today as the oldest relic of the town’s early history.

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Ladies in Period Dress Waiting for Parade to Start Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ladies in period dress provided a civilian aspect to the reenactment.

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Parade Union Reenactors 54th Massachusetts Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Union Reenactors Parading down Broad Street Downtown Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Crowd at Ceremonial Lighting of Torch Reenactment Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

At noon, uniformed reenactors paraded down Broad Street among enthusiastic crowds to the Adam Strain Building for a ceremonial torch lighting. It was nice to see such a huge turnout for this event.

150th Anniversary of the Burning of Darien GA Civil War Sesquicentennial Southern Heritage Vendors Confederate Flags Kitsch Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The Burning of Darien Museum Visitors Viewing Artifacts McIntosh County GA Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The new Darien Civil War Museum represents wonderful work by members of the McIntosh County Historic Preservation Commission and numerous volunteers. Harriet Langford reports that over 200 people visited the museum during the commemoration. The museum is located on 1st Street, just off U. S. Highway 17 and houses artifacts, including a recreation of the Garey family’s parlor (below), as it appeared before being sacked by Union troops in 1863.

The Burning of Darien Museum Garey Family Parlor Circa 1863 McIntosh County GA Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

 

 

 

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Fort McAllister, 1861, Bryan County

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Fortification March to the Sea Picket Line Earthworks Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Located near the mouth of the Ogeechee River in Bryan County, Fort McAllister was a Confederate earthwork fortification. Named for Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Longworth McAllister, who owned the plantation at Genesis Point where the fort was sited in 1861, it provided Savannah’s southern defense against the U. S. Navy. During 1862 and 1863, Fort McAllister successfully repelled seven attacks by Union warships, including the ironclads USS Montauk and USS Passaic.  Fort McAllister’s commanding officer, Major John Gallie, was killed in one of the assaults.

Though the fort never fell to the Union Navy, the land assault of 13 December 1864 marked the end of Confederate control and thus the end of Sherman’s March to the Sea. The General himself observed the taking of Fort McAllister from atop the rice mill of the captured Cheves plantation, across the Ogeechee River. It served for the remainder of the war as a prison camp for Confederates captured along the northern part of the Georgia coast.

After many years of disrepair and natural reclamation, Henry Ford, who owned the property at the time, funded a complete restoration in the late 1930s. Today, it’s one of the best-preserved earthworks of the Confederacy and features a museum and hiking trails.

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Naval Fortification March to the Sea Earthen Defense Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Sesquicentennial Fortification March to the Sea Picket Line Earthworks Henry Ford Reconstruction Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Fortification March to the Sea Finale Earthworks Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Fortification March to the Sea Bunkers Munitions Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The four images above look more like prehistoric Indian mounds than a stronghold of the Confederacy, but the earthen construction of Fort McAllister was largely responsible for its ability to successfully repel so many attacks by the Union Navy. Known as the central bombproof, this area in the middle of the fortification housed soldiers, provided medical care, and prepped and maintained the many canons and munitions necessary to the defense of the site.

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Fortification March to the Sea Hot Shot Oven Furnace for Fiery Canonballs Defense Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

The “hot shot” furnace (above) was used to heat canon balls to fire on attacking wooden vessels. Several sizes of these powerful guns were used in the defense of the fort

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Fortification March to the Sea Picket Line Earthworks Confederate Canon Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Confederate Ship Nashville Rattlesnake Recovered Rotary Engine Part Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

In 1863 the CSS Rattlesnake (formerly known as the CSS Nashville) took refuge in the Ogeechee River. After being grounded in mud during low tide, the Rattlesnake took heavy fire from Union naval vessels and was completely destroyed. Sections of the wreck were salvaged in 1960, including the engine component seen above.

Ogeechee River at Fort McAllister GA Bryan County Civil War Outpost March to the Sea Picture Image Photo © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

National Register of Historic Places

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Rafaello Romanelli’s Christ, Bonaventure Cemetery

Brigadier General Alexander Robert Lawton, CSA (5 November 1818-2 July 1896)

General Lawton was also a President of the Augusta and Savannah Railroad, a President of the American Bar Association, and U. S. Minister to Austria. The sculpture was created in 1898 in Florence.

National Register of Historic Places

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Adam Strain Building, 1813, Darien

Identified in 2008 as one of the state’s Places in Peril by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Adam Strain Building is one of only two survivors of the 1863 burning of Darien by Union troops, and is the oldest building in the city. Concerned citizens are working hard to save the structure; however, its future is still very uncertain.

darien-ga-mcintosh-county-riverfront-adam-strain-building-national-register-historic-places-endangered-georgia-trust-2008-picture-image-photo-copyright-brian-brown-photographer-vanishing

McIntosh County historian Buddy Sullivan noted in his excellent book, Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater: The Story of McIntosh County & Sapelo: “Although the waterfront warehouses were destroyed, the thick outer walls of the two-story building on the upper bluff later known as the  Strain building, survived. This structure had been built ca. 1815 and still stands as Darien’s oldest building.” In mentioning the “thick, outer walls,” he refers to the 1870 refurbishment, necessitated by damage during the Civil War.

darien-ga-mcintosh-county-riverfront-warehouse-strain-building-picture-image-photo-copyright-brian-brown-photographer-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2011

This view shows the circa 1810 ruins of tabby riverfront warehouses which supported the growing cotton and timber trades and made Darien the second busiest port in Georgia in its heyday.

UPDATE: As of 19 July 2019, a demolition permit has been issued and the building will soon be razed.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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