Old Fort Jackson

Fort Jackson is Georgia’s oldest brick fortification.  It served as the Headquarters for the Confederate Coastal Defensive fortifications that protected the Savannah River.  The Union Navy was never able to capture the fort and it was not until General Sherman occupied the City of Savannah, that the fort changed hands.

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The brick walls surrounded by a marshy moat.
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Gun ports from the outside wall.
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Gun ports from the inside wall.
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Looking downstream on the Savannah River towards the ocean.
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Looking upstream on the Savannah River towards the Port of Savannah.
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It is easy to see so commanding of a view that Fort Jackson has of the Savannah River.
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Train tracks that connected Savannah and the Fort so that supplies could be maintained.
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December 13th, 1864

Dec. 13th, Federal forces overwhelm the garrison at Fort McAllister after a spirited fight the fort is captured.  Sherman watched the assault from a rice mill across the river.  With the Ogeechee River open, supplies begin to flow in to the army.  Sherman has a 1000′ long wharf built at King’s Bridge on the Ogeechee River.  This area is now a park with a boat ramp where the Hwy. 17 crosses the Ogeechee River.

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Fort. McAllister protected the Ogeechee River with these heavy guns.  General Sherman needed supplies and in order for the Union Navy to reach Sherman, the Fort had to be captured.
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Earthworks and artillery protecting the side of the fort vulnerable to attack by land.
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The structures in the fort were primarily earthen mounds that housed a variety of things, like this hotshot furnace.
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One of the earthen mounds was the powder magazine and storage area, others served as bunk rooms.
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Looking west and across the Ogeechee River.  General Sherman watched the assault from the tower of a rice mill just across the river.
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Looking downstream, east, from the site of King’s Bridge toward Fort McAllister.
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A modern bridge stands where the original bridge was on U.S. 17 at the Ogeechee River.  It was here that Sherman had his engineers build a 1000′ foot long wharf in order to bring in supplies from the Union Navy.  A community park and boat ramp are now at the site.
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In 2014 I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph the reenactment of the assault on Fort McAllister.  It took place at the original location on the actual anniversary.  Here, a Confederate cannon fires on the approaching Federals.
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More Confederate cannon fire.
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Federal forces outnumbered the Confederates and were quick to overrun the fort.
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A Confederate reenactor takes a break between skirmishes.
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Federal reenactors helping the wounded during the battle.
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Confederate reenactor keeps watch for approaching Federal troops.
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Confederate soldier smokes his pipe between firefights.

November 18th, 1864

November 18th, 1864:

The Left Wing continues to move towards Milledgeville.  General Sherman is still traveling with the 14th Corps and they turn south from the area of Covington and move towards Milledgeville via Shady Dale.  The 20th Corps moved on Madison where they destroyed the railroad while Geary’s Division was sent to the Oconee River to destroy the bridges crossing it.  After they completed their assignments, the 20th Corps was to move south through Eatonton to link up with the 14th Corps near Milledgeville.  The Right Wing crosses the Ocmulgee River and begin moving south east.  They are working their way toward Monticello and toward Clinton, which is just north east of Macon.

The Federals process of foraging was in full swing.  The “Bummers” as they were often called, would leave the camps in the morning ahead of the main column and move out to the flanks.  Along the flanks they would visit every home and plantation and take their food and livestock.  There are many accounts of the”Bummers” also taking personal items and random keepsakes.  There are even accounts of the soldiers stealing and wearing ladies dresses.  For the most part, if there was more food than the soldiers could carry or use, they would destroy it so it would be of no use to an Confederates that may come around.  The “Bummers” stopped at Jarrell Plantation, now a state historic site, to forage and destroy what they could not carry.  They burned the cotton gin and destroyed 300 bushels of the families wheat, they stole the livestock, and wagons.  They Federal troops also freed all the slaves on the plantation.

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Jarrell Plantation House.  Built in the early 1840’s this home and land belonged to the Jarrell family for 140 years.  When Federal foragers came through they torched the cotton gin, took all the food they could carry, destroyed 300 bushels of wheat, and freed 39 slaves.
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Parts of the Right Wing also passed through the area of Round Oak and past Sunshine Church, where a Federal Cavalry had been engaged with Confederates in a small battle during the summer.
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Elements of the Right Wing marched down this road through Round Oak on their way to Clinton.  This is also the spot where, during the Battle of Sunshine Church, the Confederates blocked the road with an artillery piece.

Allatoona Pass Living History

     This weekend marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Allatoona Pass.  In honor of this the Georgia State Parks and the Friends of Georgia State Parks along with several reenactment groups are hosting a living history event.  There will be a “tent city” area showing what life was like for the soldiers and civilians of the time as well as musket firing and artillery demonstrations.  I have been told that they will be placing a cannon in one of the original existing fortifications to do the artillery demonstration. 
     The day time demos will take place on Saturday from 9am to 4pm and on Sunday from 9am to 2pm.  There is a special candle light tour on Saturday night with tours that start every half hour from 7pm until 9pm.  There is a cost of $10.00 per person for the night tour.  You must reserve your tour here:  Allatoona Pass Nighttime Tours
The information for the tour states that it is not appropriate for children due to the darkness, terrain, and loudness of cannon fire.  It is also not ADA compliant.  I have been on the trails there and they can be steep with some tripping hazards, especially in the dark.  It will be cold so dress warm.

For more information about the daytime events to the state park website here:  Allatoona Pass Living History