In 1808, with relations between Britain and our fledgling country quickly deteriorating, President Thomas Jefferson ordered the construction of Old Fort Jackson, to protect the important port of Savannah. Named for revolutionary hero James “Left Eye” Jackson, it was ready by the time we went to battle in the War of 1812, but never needed.
The fort would next be needed in the Civil War, and was quickly seized by Confederate troops. It was a powerful deterrent against the Union army who had seized Fort Pulaski out by Tybee Island, and Savannah was spared from attack. During the eclipse of the war, Sherman’s March to the Sea reached Savannah, and his troops easily seized the fort… although before they had abandoned it, the Confederates had destroyed everything useful inside.
So, Fort Jackson has not seen much battle in its 200-year history, meaning that even though it’s the oldest standing brick fort in the state, it’s also incredibly well-preserved. Just a few minutes from the city center, on the Islands Expressway out to Tybee, it’s a cool place to spend an hour and relive history. It was purchased by the Coastal Heritage Society in 1920 and completely restored in the 70s. Today, tourists can visit a museum in the fort’s rooms and witness a daily cannon firing.
Old Fort Jackson is less interesting than Fort Pulaski, if only because it never participated in any battles. But, it’s much closer to the city, so if you’ve not got much time and are itching to get into an old fort, it fits the bill.
January 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm Comments (4)