Last Monday was supposed to be quite chilly and overcast, so we decided to spend the day doing dry-land activities around Savannah. Our first stop was Fort Pulaski, named to honour Casimir Pulaski (a Polish military commander known as the "father of American calvary," who died in the Revolutionary War). Pulaski died in 1779, fort construction was ordered after the war of 1812, construction began in 1829 and was completed in 1847. Confederate troops claimed the fort in early 1861, and in April 1862 Union forces based at Tybee Island conquered the fort using a new "rifle cannon."
At the time, most known cannons only had a range of a half mile. Tybee Island is about a mile away from Cockspur Island (where Fort Pulaski stands), so the fort wasn't really expecting to be attacked. But...they were. Many shots hit the outer wall and a few landed near the powder magazine on the far end of the fort, spurring on a surrender (for fear the whole fort would blow).
This fort is known as the fort that rendered brick fortifications obsolete since it was no match for the rifle cannon.
(Thanks to Wikipedia for helping me remember what we learned at the fort).
This is another National Monument that offers a Junior Ranger badge. The kids were quite excited to get to work on their booklets.
Here's our crew heading over the drawbridge and moat to the demilune:
(Rachel took most of the pictures while we were visiting the fort, so she's missing from the group shot.)
Here's Phoebe feeling grumpy about the cold wind:
It was a little mind-blowing for me to consider alligators living in the moat around this fort. Usually when I think of alligators in moats, I think of stories about castles in Europe (though it turns out such stories are generally false; alligators and/or crocodiles simply wouldn't thrive in, say, England or Germany (or France, if Napoleon managed to get a crocodile there, which I haven't been able to verify (though we have read I, Crocodile)). So, no, moats around castles in Europe were not filled with crocodiles.
However, there have been alligators spotted in the moat around Fort Pulaski!
Typically, though, the water in the moat is too salty for alligators to thrive in, so they stick to the marsh farther inland.
Here's Benjamin in one of the entrances:
The walls were made of a what I assume to be some sort of tabby concrete (lots of shells embedded in there).
Here's sweet Miriam:
And here is Benjamin posing in front of a cannon: