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Fort McAllister State Historic Park 3894 Fort McAllister Road
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Phone: (912) 727-2339
April, 2007

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I didn't have Fort McAllister State Historic Site on my list of "must-see's" in Savannah until a couple of fellow RVers said it most definitely should be added. All I can say to that is "Thanks, guys!" One of the things I've most appreciated about being a fulltime RVer is the chance to visit in person our country's historic sites. Strange for me because one of the subjects I found most doze-worthy in school was history. But seeing them in person and viewing the real artifacts is endlessly fascinating to me now.

A unique geographic land bounded by river, salt marsh, creek, and separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a barrier island, this location has been home for Native Americans, Spanish missions and early Europeans as can be seen by the numerous interesting artifacts in the park's museum.

Start with a tour of the museum where you see incredibly clear pictures taken when the Union troops finally took Fort McAllister after years of effort. Get to know the people that lived through this part of our history through their letters home from the war. There's a short film that's interesting to see before you head out onto the site.

Here you'll find the best preserved earthwork fortification of the confederacy on the east coast. Designed for functionality with no consideration for the kind of artistic masonry found at nearby Fort Pulaski, the crude earthen walls allowed the fort to hold out for 2 years from attempts to take it by sea. It was finally taken by land in 1864, but never surrendered. In contrast, Fort Pulaski was surrendered in 1862 after 30 hours of being fired on by rifled cannons.
A particularly ferocious battle took place with the U.S.S. Montauk. Despite being bombarded by over 450 cannon balls, they were basically absorbed by the earthern walls, which could be repaired overnight. Unfortunately, that ironclad ship was equally unaffected. Wooden ships were successfully fought off by being set ablaze when the cannonball "hot shots" created in this furnace hit their target.
It took General Sherman's infamous "March to the Sea" to fell Fort McAllister. It was not designed for land defense and although never surrendered, the fort was finally taken by Sherman by land at the rear in an attack that lasted less than 15 minutes on December 13, 1864. That laid wide open the way to Savannah and on Christmas Eve, Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln: "I beg to present you as a Christmas Gift, the City of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition; and also about 25,000 bales of cotton..."
Looking back from the river you can see a recreation of a building like the old officer's quarters. Amidst this peaceful setting now it's hard to imagine the chaos of war taking place here. Rumor has it some of the casualties are still guarding the fort. Some visitors swear they've seen and/or felt ghostly figures. Heroic Major Gallie, who was scalped by a cannonball here, has been seen still trying to hold the fort and his head together.
So I got weak at the knees when I was lining up this shot and saw this rebel capped "soldier" in the viewer next to the cannon. I almost dropped the camera and when I looked up, I still wasn't sure if he was a real live person or not. I got up the nerve to call out to him and it turned out he was a real live tourist, too.
Confederate Cap
Union Cap
Civil War rifle
Museum/Fort Tour Fees: $4.00 adults; $3.50 for those aged 62+; $2.50 for ages 6-18; kids under 5 are free. Slightly reduced rates for groups of 15+. (Rates as of April, 2007).
Special Events: On the second weekend of December each year, they hold a battle re-enactment that looks like it would be fascinating. Check out the pics in the album at the museum.
More history of Fort McAllister:

Official Park Site

Roadside Georgia

Our Georgia History

Georgia Encyclopedia

Georgia Civil War Battles

Wikipedia.org battle info

A fantastic campground here, too - check it out
Camp at Savage Island

Location: About 28 miles from downtown Savannah.
From I-95, exit #90 (Georgia Spur 144 a/k/a Ford Avenue). After about 6.5 miles, turn left onto SR-144 Spur. 4 miles down that road is the museum and entrance to the campground.

GPS coordinates: 31.88220° N / 81.17778° W (campground)

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