Battle for Fort McAllister - Richmond Hill, GA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member onfire4jesus
N 31° 53.479 W 081° 11.791
17R E 481416 N 3528405
Quick Description: Fort McAllister was the site of 7 naval battles where the Union Navy tried to capture the Fort. It was finally captured by General Sherman during his march to the sea. The fort is open every day except Christmas 8:00AM-5:00PM.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 4/10/2008 11:37:22 AM
Waymark Code: WM3J2Z
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member briansnat
Views: 10

Long Description:

HISTORY

From the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites web site:
"It was owned by various planters who cultivated rice and later, cotton , as well as other agricultural activities at the site throughout the early period of American history . Finally, in 1850, Genesis Point was bequeathed to Joseph L. McAllister from his father.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, McAllister founded the Hardwicke Mounted Rifles which served in Virginia. He also agreed to allow the construction of Confederate gun defenses with earthwork fortifications for four guns on his land. This structure was to guard the southern flank of the Savannah defenses as well as the entrance to the Ogeechee River. An important railroad trestle of the Atlantic and Gulf railroad, as well as rich cotton and rice plantations, lay upstream.

The initial structure built with slave labor was augmented by the construction of officers' quarters and barracks. The capture of Hilton Head, S.C. by the Union in 1861 and a visit by Robert E. Lee to the site to review its defenses brought additional strengthening. The occupation of Tybee Island and blockade of the Savannah port was followed by the fall of Ft. Pulaski in 1862. Now called Fort McAllister , its defenders added obstructions to the river . At nearly the same time the blockade runner, Thomas L. Wragg, slipped into the Ogeechee. Formally the Nashville, the steamer had outrun Union vessels blockading the port at Charslton and became trapped as the Union blockade closed around Genesis Point.

Throughout the remainder of 1862, Union vessels attempted to reach the ship. To do so, however, meant they must pass the guns at Ft. McAllister. Despite four attempts and heavy shelling, the Union Navy was unable to silence McAllister's guns. At the close of 1862, the Confederate ship, the railroad line and the plantations of the Ogeechee were still protected from the Union attack. The damage to the fort from naval shells was quickly and easily repaired, establishing the superiority of earthen, rather than brick fortifications in withstanding stiff bombardment.

In early 1863, the Union blockade was strengthened by the addition of ironclads, heavily armored vessels they felt could destroy the fortifications and reach the C.S.S. Nashville, as well. The attack of the U.S.S. Montauk failed to capture the fort on January 27 and again, February 1. By now converted into a privateer and renamed the Rattlesnake, the Confederate ship attempted to run the blockade on February 27. Failing, she retreated upstream, but ran aground rounding Seven-Mile Bend just upriver from the Fort.

The next morning, February 28, 1863, the Montuak returned, anchored downstream and begun battle against the grounded vessel. Her shelling finally resulted in the Rattlesnake catching fire and sinking. Despite Fort McAllister's repeated firing on the Montauk, answered by the Union gunboats' steady bombardment of the fort, the Fort McAllister batteries remained intact. So, too, did the Montauk, although when removing from the battle, she struck a mine in the river and was severely damaged. On March 3, three additional Union ironclads joined in the attack upon the Fort. Unable to silence her guns after hours of bombardment, they finally withdrew, ending the naval engagement.

Fort McAllister continued to guard the Ogeechee until late 1864 when General William T. Sherman's 60,000-man army began to close on Savannah. Needing control of the Ogeechee River to open supply lines, Sherman dispatched a Union division to cross Bryan's Neck and attack Fort McAllister overland from the rear. Never constructed to withstand a land attack, the fort fell after fifteen minutes of intense combat. Sherman's March to the Sea ended as the Ogeechee now lay open. Within a week, the city of Savannah became the Union's prize at the close of the western campaign to split the Confederacy.

Never having surrendered, the Fort was nonetheless taken. A series of photographs showed the occupation of the site by federal troops, including the use of Confederate prisoners to remove land mines planted as a final defense against the Union assault. The Confederate officers there occupied the overseers home (reconstructed as the old visitor's center and museum). Confederates were removed and Union troops oversaw the dismantling of the Fort's guns. Today, the old museum building's first floor is to serve as an additional exhibit of this occupation by officers and men as a barracks.

Following the Civil War, nature reclaimed the land at Genesis Point and the remains of Fort McAllister were forgotten. In the 1930's then owner, Henry Ford, began restoration of the Civil War earthwork fortification. Before restoration was complete, the area passed to the International Paper Company which deeded it to the State of Georgia. The site opened to the public in 1963, one hundred years after the great bombardment by the Union ironclads.

TODAY

Today the fort is part of one of Georgia's beautiful state parks. The park boasts 63 camping sites, 3 cabins, and 4.3 miles of nature trails. There are also picnic areas, playgrounds, lookout towers, and a fishing dock on the Ogeechee River.

The fort is a separate area from the rest of the park and there is a $4 admission fee ($3.50 for seniors, $2.50 for children). The admission grants you access to the museum and the fort grounds which have been recreated to resemble the fort as it was during the war.

Name of Battle:
Battle of Fort McAllister


Name of War: American Civil War

Entrance Fee: 4.00 (listed in local currency)

Parking: N 31° 53.380 W 081° 11.969

Date(s) of Battle (Beginning): Not listed

Date of Battle (End): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Post a photo of you in front of a sign or marker posted at the site of the battle (or some other way to indicate you have personally visited the site.

In addition it is encouraged to take a few photos of the surrounding area and interesting features at the site.
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