Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Artillery, Tanks and AFVs in the USA: Georgia, Fort Pulaski

Artillery preserved at Fort Pulaski, Georgia

Data current to 14 July 2019.

One of the aims of this website is to locate, identify and document every historical piece of artillery and all armoured fighting vehicles preserved in Georgia.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these tangible pieces of our military history and the list you see here is constantly being revised as new finds are discovered and the data is updated.  The photos have come from various contributors, but the author likes to "ground truth" the reports, so a good number of the photos are by the author unless otherwise credited.  Any errors found here are by the author.   It often happens that military monuments that are relatively mobile, have been moved for restoration or scrapped, sometimes they are repainted with different markings and serial numbers, or they are replaced with a different piece of kit.  For those reasons, any additions, deletions, corrections or amendments that you may be able to add to this list of Artillery and AFVs in Georgia would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com.  The primary aim is preserve our military history and to keep the record accurate.

Fort Pulaski National Monument is located on Cockspur Island between Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia.  It preserves Fort Pulaski, where in 1862 during the American Civil Waar, the Union Army successfully tested rifled cannon in combat, the success of which rendered brick fortifications obsolete.  The fort was also used as a prisoner-of-war camp.  The National Monument includes most of Cockspur Island (containing the fort) and all of adjacent McQueens Island.

 (Edibobb Photo)

Following the War of 1812, US President James Madison ordered a new system of coastal fortifications to protect the United States against foreign invasion.  Construction of a fort to protect the port of Savannah began in 1829 under the direction of Major General Babcock, and later Second Lieutenant Robert E. Lee a recent graduate of  West Point.  The new fort would be located on Cockspur Island at the mouth of the Savannah River.  In 1833, the facility was named Fort Pulaski in honor of Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish soldier and military commander who fought in the American Revolution under the command of George Washington.  Pulaski was a noted cavalryman and played a large role in training Revolutionary troops.  He took part in the sieges of Charleston and of Savannah.

Fort Pulaski belonged to what is known as the Third System of coastal fortifications, which were characterized by greater structural durability than the earlier works.  Most of the nearly thirty Third System forts built after 1816 still exist along either the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.

Wooden pilings were sunk up to 70 feet (21.3 m) into the mud to support an estimated 25,000,000 bricks.  Fort Pulaski was finally completed in 1847 following eighteen years of construction and nearly $1 million in construction costs.

Walls were 11 feet thick, thought to be impenetrable except by only the largest land artillery.  The smooth bore cannon of the time had a range of only around a half mile, and the nearest land (Tybee island) was much further away than that.  It was assumed that the Fort would be invincible to enemy attack.  Lt Lee remarked that "one might as well bombard the Rocky Mountains as Fort Pulaski".

Though completed in 1847, Fort Pulaski was under the control of only two caretakers until 1860 when South Carolina seceded from the United States and set in motion the Civil War.  It was at this time that Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown ordered Fort Pulaski to be taken by the state of Georgia.  A steamship carrying 110 men from Savannah traveled downriver and the fort was seized by the state of Georgia.  Following the secession of Georgia in February 1861, the state joined the Confederate States of America.  Confederate troops then moved into the fort.

By December 1861, Tybee Island was thought to be too isolated and unprepared for conflict and was abandoned by Confederate forces.  This allowed Union troops to gain a foothold across the Savannah River from Fort Pulaski.  Union forces under Quincy A. Gillmore began construction of batteries along the beaches of Tybee.

On the morning of 10 April 1862 Union forces asked for the surrender of the Fort to prevent needless loss of life.  Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, commander of the Confederate garrison, rejected the offer.

Fort Pulaski was prepared for a possible infantry attack.  However, it never endured a direct land assault.  Using 36 guns, including the new James Rifled Cannon and Parrott rifles, Union troops began the long sustained bombardment of Fort Pulaski.  The rifled projectiles could be accurately fired farther (4–5 miles) than the larger and heavier smoothbore cannonballs.  Within 30 hours, the new rifled cannon had breached one of the fort's corner walls.  Shells now passed through the fort dangerously close to the main powder magazine.  Reluctantly, Colonel Olmstead surrendered the fort.  Only two soldiers, one Confederate and one Union, were injured in the attack. 

Olmstead's decision to surrender haunted him for decades.  He stated, "We were absolutely isolated beyond any possibility of help from the Confederate authorities, and I did not feel warranted in exposing the garrison to the hazard of the blowing up of our main magazine, a danger which had just been proved well within the limits of probability.  There are times when a soldier must hold his position to the last extremity, which means extermination, but this was not one of them.  That the fort could and would be absolutely destroyed by the force of the enemy was a demonstrated fact...while our own power to harm them had been reduced to a minimum...I am still convinced that there was nothing else that could be done".  (Fort Pulaski brochure, National P\rk Service, United States Department of the Interior)

Gillmore succeeded almost entirely because of his rifled cannon, which caused massive damage in the walls of the fort. Gillmore's triumph won him promotion from engineer captain to Brigadier General.

Within six weeks of the surrender, Union forces repaired the Fort and all shipping in and out of Savannah ceased.  The loss of Savannah as a viable Confederate port crippled the Southern war effort.  With the Fort securely in Union control, General David Hunter, commander of the Union garrison issued General Order Number 7, which stated that all slaves in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were now free.  President Abraham Lincoln quickly rescinded the order, but later issued his own Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.  At this time, Fort Pulaski was made a final destination on the Underground Railroad as slaves throughout the area were freed upon arrival on Cockspur Island.

The garrison of Union soldiers reached 600 during the initial occupation, but as the War dragged on it became obvious the Southern forces would not be able to retake the fort.  The garrison was later reduced to about 250.  Late in the war, the fort was turned into a prison for a group of captured Confederate officers known as "The Immortal Six Hundred."  Thirteen of these men would die at the fort.  After the war ended, Fort Pulaski continued as a military and political prison for a short while.  It would house a Confederate Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Assistant Secretary of War as well as three state governors, a senator and the men who had commanded the fort after it had been taken by the South. 

Between 1869 and 1872 the demilune to the rear of the Fort was covered with powder magazines and the few gun positions left were enlarged for heavier guns.

By the turn of the 20th century, the fort began to fall into disrepair.  In an effort to save the old fort, the War Department finally declared Fort Pulaski a National Monument on 15 October 1924 by presidential proclamation of Calvin Coolidge.  The monument was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on 10 August 1933.  At that time repairs were started, when members of the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived on Cockspur Island and began rehabilitation of the fort.

Fort Pulaski was opened to the public only for a short time before the beginning of the Second World War.  This war would see further use of Cockspur Island as a section base for the U.S. Navy.  Following the end of the Second World War, Fort Pulaski reverted to the Park Service's control, and it was administratively listed on the National Registger of Historic Places on 15 October 1966.  Fort Pulaski remains open to the public, with a museum opened in the 1980s.  (Wikipedia)

 (Author Photo)

Fort Pulaski National Monument has a varied collection of original and replica artillery pieces on display throughout the fort.  Only three of the original guns on display were in the fort during the siege of 1862.  The artillery preserved in the Foryt includes smoothbore muzzle-loading (SBML) guns and rifled muzzle-loading (RML) guns. 

 (Author Photo)

As you pass through the front entrance to Fort Pulaski, the first gun you encounter is an original bronze 12-pounder Field Howitzer.  The guns are numbered clockwise from this 12-pounder on the ground, marked as Yellow 1 on the diagram, current to the author's visit on 19 March 2019.  The numbering continues after you climb the stairs to the far left of the entrance, with the guns on the parapet number from left to right.

Location Diagram for artillery pieces preserved on the grounds of Fort Pulaski.  Three of the original guns in the fort during the siege of 1862 are marked in Red.

 (Author Photos)

1. Bronze 12-pounder SBML Field Howitzer, M1841, weight 788 lbs, with a 4.62-inch bore, 58.6-inch tube length, firing an 8.3-lb shot or a 10.8-lb shell, with a range of 1,050 yards (960 metres), mounted on a wheeled Field Carriage.  1844 on the left trunnion, N.P. AMES. FOUNDER, SPRINGFIELD, MASS. on the right trunnion, Serial No. 785 under the cascabel, JWR, 15, on the muzzle.

 

 (Author Photos)

2. Cast iron 30-pounder Parrot Rifle, M1841, weight 4,200 lbs, with a 4.2-inch bore, 132.5-inch tube length, firing a 29.2-lb shot or a 26.5-lb shell, with a range of 3,636 yards 3,325 metres), mounted on a Siege Carriage.  30 Pdr, Serial No. 42 on the muzzle.  1861 on the left trunnion, RPP (Robert Parker Parrott), WPF (West Point Foundry), on the right trunnion, corroded/painted over numbers on the cascabel.

 (Author Photos)

3. Cast iron 10-inch SBML Siege Mortar, M1807, weight 3,860 lbs, with a 10-inch bore, 31.25-inch tube length, firing a 85 to 98-lb shell, with a range of 4,250 yards (3,886 metres), No. 313 below the touch hole, mounted on a wood Mortar Bed.

 (Author Photo)

Cast-iron 24-pounder smoothbore muzzle-loading (SBML) Flank Howitzer, M1844, preserved at Fort Knox, Maine.

4. Replica 24-pounder smoothbore muzzle-loading (SBML) Flank Howitzer, M1844.

 (Author Photo)

5. Cast iron 30-pounder Parrot Rifle, M1861, weight 4,200 lbs, with a 4.2-inch bore, 132.5-inch tube length, firing a 29.2-lb shot or a 26.5-lb shell, with a range of 3,636 yards 3,325 metres), unmounted.

 (Author Photos)

6. Cast iron 6-pounder SBML Gun, P1835, weight 842 lbs, with a 3.67-inch bore, 59-inch tube length, firing a 6-lb shot, with a range of 1,523 yards 1,393 metres), unmounted.

7. Cast iron 30-pounder Parrot Rifle, M1861, weight 4,200 lbs, with a 4.2-inch bore, 132.5-inch tube length, firing a 29.2-lb shot or a 26.5-lb shell, with a range of 3,636 yards 3,325 metres), unmounted.

8. Replica 6-inch Gun, unmounted.

 (Author Photos)

9. Bronze 12-pounder SBML Field Howitzer, M1841, weight 788 lbs, with a 4.62-inch bore, 58.6-inch tube length, firing an 8.3-lb shot or a 10.8-lb shell, with a range of 1,050 yards (960 metres), unmounted.  1841 on the left trunnion, A.M.Co., NEW YORK on the right trunnion, 2, WM, 788 above the cascabel.  A gun gin stands above this gun, alongside a replica 32-pounder Seacoast Gun, M1841.

 (Author Photos)

10. Bronze 12-pounder SBML Field Howitzer, M1841, weight 788 lbs, with a 4.62-inch bore, 58.6-inch tube length, firing an 8.3-lb shot or a 10.8-lb shell, with a range of 1,050 yards (960 metres), mounted on a wheeled Field Carriage.  1844 on the left trunnion, N.P. AMES. FOUNDER, SPRINGFIELD, MASS. on the right trunnion, Serial No. under the cascabel, JWR, on the muzzle.

 (Author Photo)

11. 12-pounder Limber on a wheeled carriage.

 (Author Photos)

11. Cast iron 42-pounder SBML Seacoast Gun, M1831, weight 8,688 lbs, with a 7.2-inch bore, 129.4-inch tube length, firing a 42.4-lb shot with a range of 1,955 yards (1,788 metres), mounted on a wood taversing Carriage.  1836 on the left trunnion, J.M.O.? (corroded letter). on the right trunnion, 8700 under the cascabel.  This gun has a Blomefield pattern breeching ring on the knob, a single reinforce, and a cavetto on the muzzle moldings.

 

 (Author Photos)

12. Replica 32-pounder Seacoast Gun, M1841, mounted on a wood traversing Casemate Carriage.

 (Author Photos)

13. Replica 6-inch Gun, reinforced cascabel, mounted on a wood traversing Casemate Carriage.

 (Author Photos)

14. Replica 6-inch Gun, reinforced cascabel, mounted on a wood traversing Casemate Carriage.

 (Author Photo)

15. Replica 32-pounder Seacoast Gun, M1841, mounted on a wood traversing Casemate Carriage.

 (Author Photos)

16. Bronze 12-pounder SBML Field Howitzer, M1841, weight 788 lbs, with a 4.62-inch bore, 58.6-inch tube length, firing an 8.3-lb shot or a 10.8-lb shell, with a range of 1,050 yards (960 metres), mounted on a wheeled Field Carriage.  1861 on the left trunnion, C.A. & Co., BOSTON on the right trunnion, Serial No. 797 under the cascabel, JWR, 780, on the muzzle.  This gun has been mounted on its carriage with its barrel and trunnions upside down.

 (Author Photo)

17. 12-pounder Field Carriage.

 (Author Photo)

Cast-iron 24-pounder smoothbore muzzle-loading (SBML) Flank Howitzer, M1844, preserved at Fort Knox, Maine.

18. Cast iron 24-pounder SBML Flank Howitzer, M1844, weight 1,476 lbs, with a 5.82-inch bore, 69-inch tube length, firing a 29-lb shell with a range of 1,322 yards (1,209 metres), mounted on a Garrison Carriage.

 

 (Author Photos)

19. Cast iron 13-inch SBML Heavy Siege and Seacoast Mortar, M1861, weight 17,250 lbs, with a 13-inch bore, 56.5-inch tube length, firing a 200-lb round mortar shell, with a range of 4,325 yards (3,955 metres), mounted on an iron stand.  Likely cast at the Fort Pitt Foundry, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This mortar is inside the Fort Pulaski Visitor Centre.  The 13-inch Union Seacoast Mortar saw action in many different theaters in the American Civil War.  It was used by both the Army and the Navy.  General Gillmore had a dozen, which took part in the reduction of Fort Pulaski.

Walking past the bronze 24-pounder and the flagpole, up the stairs to the next level, you will find the following guns.

 (Author Photo)

20. Original Front Pintle Carriage.

 (Author Photos)

21. Replica 8-inch Parrot Rifle, M1861, mounted on an original Front Pintle Carriage.

 (Author Photos)

22. Cast iron 24-pounder Blakely Rifle, P1861, weight 4,700 lbs, with a 4.5-inch bore, 96-inch tube length, firing a 24-lb shell, with a range of 1,901 yards 1,738 metres), mounted on a Center Pintle Carriage.  No. 152 on the barrel.  Civil War plaque on the barrel, 11 April 1862.  This gun was in the fort during the battle in 1862.

 (Author Photos)

23. Cast iron 6.4-inch Double Banded Brooke Rifle, weight 10,799 lbs, with a 6.4-inch bore, 142.5-inch tube length, firing a 95-lb shell, with a range of 7,900 yards 7,224 metres), mounted on a Center Pintle Carriage.

 

 (Author Photos)

24. Cast iron 24-pounder Blakely Rifle, P1861, weight 4,700 lbs, with a 4.5-inch bore, 96-inch tube length, firing a 24-lb shell, with a range of 1,901 yards 1,738 metres), mounted on a Center Pintle Carriage.  The Blakely Rifle was designed by British army officer Captain Theophilus Alexander Blakely.  They were widely sold outside of the British army, and were best known for their use by the Confederate States of American during the American Civil War.  No. 153 on the barrel.  Civil War plaque on the barrel, 11 April 1862.  This gun was in the fort during the battle in 1862.

 (Author Photos)

25. Cast iron 24-pounder SBML Naval Gun, M1835, weight 3,132 lbs, with a 5.82-inch bore, 91.5-inch tube length, firing a 24-lb shot, with a range of 1,901 yards 1,738 metres), mounted on a Center Pintle Carriage.

Devastating bombardment plaque.

 

 (Author Photos)

26. Cast iron 8-inch SBML Confederate Columbiad Gun, M1861, weight 9,460 lbs, with a 8-inch bore, 120.5-inch tube length, firing a 68-lb shot, with a range of 2,665 yards 2,437 metres), mounted on a Center Pintle Carriage.  This gun was in the fort and sustained muzzle damage during the battle in 1862.  9460 on the barrel. 1861 on the left trunnion, J.P.A. & C., T.F. on the right trunnion.

 (Author Photos)

27. Cast iron 30-pounder Parrot Rifle, M1862, weight 4,200 lbs, with a 4.2-inch bore, 132.5-inch tube length, firing a 29.2-lb shot or a 26.5-lb shell, with a range of 3,636 yards 3,325 metres), mounted on a Siege Carriage.  4200.N333.1864, W.P.F., R.M.H. 4.2 on the muzzle.

 (Author Photo)

28. Cast iron 30-pounder Parrot Rifle, M1861, weight 4,200 lbs, with a 4.2-inch bore, 132.5-inch tube length, firing a 29.2-lb shot or a 26.5-lb shell, with a range of 3,636 yards 3,325 metres), mounted on a Siege Carriage.

 (Author Photo)

Moat around Fort Pulaski.