Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson, located just outside Savannah GA, is the site of a brick and earth fortress from the period before the War of 1812. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, it is run by a local nonprofit preservation society.

During the Revolutionary War, the colonial militia placed a cannon battery here, protected by an earthen berm, to control this stretch of the Savannah River, but it was captured when the city of Savannah fell.

In 1808, President Jefferson ordered the construction of a number of naval forts to protect coastal cities from British, Spanish or French fleets. The old Revolutionary War cannon site was chosen as the site for Fort Jackson, named after a local Revolutionary War hero. The original fort consisted of a thick brick wall banked with earth. When the War of 1812 broke out, Fort Jackson was the primary protection for the Port of Savannah.

After the war, the Navy decided to expand the fort, adding an enclosing wall and moat and new powder magazines for the cannon. Just before the Civil War, it was decided to add a larger structure, Fort Pulaski, a short distance away, but the soil at the Pulaski site turned out to be too soggy to make the defenses as large as planned, so some of these bricks were carried to Fort Jackson and were used to expand it. When the Civil War started in 1861 the fort was occupied by Georgia militia, and when Fort Pulaski was bombarded and captured in 1862, Fort Jackson became the center of a number of cannon batteries and several ironclad warships. Fort Jackson was never taken in combat, but in 1864, Union General Sherman reached Savannah by land and captured it. The Confederates burned the Fort, sunk their ironclads to block the river, and retreated to South Carolina. The fort was occupied by the 55th Massachusetts Regiment of African-American volunteers.

The Navy kept a garrison at the fort until 1905, when it was abandoned. It was purchased by the city of Savannah to be turned into a park, but was never developed. In 1964 a local company tried to buy the ruins as a source of brick, but instead the site was bought by the State of Georgia and turned over to a local historical preservation society for restoration. The Fort now appears as it did at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Here are some photos from a visit.

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Fort Jackson

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Preparing to fire a 6-pounder cannon

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Fire !

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The gateway

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The interior parade ground

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One of the powder magazines

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One of the demi-bastions, at each corner of the fort

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Demi-bastion from the outside

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The blacksmith forge

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The main gun batteries and the shell magazine

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The defensive moat

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View of the river from the main gun battery

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The barracks bunks

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Defensive wall. The large ports are for cannons, and the small loopholes are for muskets.

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There was another large cannon battery across the river.

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A re-enactor demonstrates different types of cannon ammunition
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2 thoughts on “Fort Jackson

  1. Although I’ve driven past Savannah many times, going to and from Florida, I’ve not yet taken time to visit properly. But these photos looked familiar; then it dawned on me: The Asylum shot one of their mockbusters at the fort:

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