Standing on the banks at the mouth of the Great Ogeechee River, Fort McAllister stood in defense of Savannah and the heartland of the Old South until nearly the end of the Civil War. The fort was taken at the completion of Sherman’s march to the sea. Today fort McAllister welcomes visitors to this key historic site of the War Between the States.
Before falling to Sherman, Fort McAllister had withstood many attacks upon it and stood guard to protect the Confederacy’s shipping interests. Blockade runners only needed to pass the fort to be given protection from the fort’s well fortified cannons. Fort McAllister was made of massive earthworks that held up well against armaments of the day. According to information at the site, the fort was attacked by iron clad vessels and other ships that fired what was then the largest naval cannons ever fired against a shoreline defense. Despite this impressive barrage of firepower, there was only minimal damage to the fort and only one casualty was suffered by the Confederates.
When Sherman finally took fort McAllister, the South was already running low on supplies and morale. The fort fell quickly to Sherman and his overwhelming force. In total 40 soldiers were killed in the battle (24 for the North, 16 for the South). As Fort McAllister fell so did the last hopes of this region of the Confederacy. With Sherman’s path of destruction from Atlanta to the sea destroyed railroads, food, munitions, bridges, and forms of communication and now a large portion of the South being cut off from reinforcement and supplies from the sea, the situation was futile.
Fort McAllister now stands roughly approximating its appearance in the middle of the Civil War. Many of the earthworks have been restored to its period appearance. A museum on the grounds contains items from the blockade runner Nashville and other items of interest. Fort McAllister Historic Park offers facilities for visitors including a campground, boat docks, and more. For more information on Fort McAllister Historic Park visit Georgia’s State Park website at
Other sites of interest in the immediate area include: Fort Morris State Historic Site, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, and Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge. Fort McAllister Historic Park makes a great day trip for those living in Savannah, Georgia, and a great side trip for anyone passing through the area on Interstate 95 or Interstate 16. Fort McAllister Historic Park is also with-in a reasonable drive of Macon, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida.
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