Fort Pulaski was built to protect the port of Savannah, GA. Construction of a fort on Cockspur Island, at the mouth of the Savannah River, began in 1829. It was completed in 1847 and cost nearly $1 million.
The walls were eleven feet thick, thought to be impenetrable unless bombarded by the largest, land borne, smooth bore artillery. These cannons usually had a range of one half mile. The nearest land mass was Tybee Island which put Fort Pulaski well out of harms way.
Following a siege by Federal forces during April 1862, the fort’s Confederate garrison surrendered after a bombardment by Union cannon. New rifled guns were used for the first time against a fortification of this type. Within thirty hours, the rifled cannon had breached a corner of one of the walls and successive shots now passed through the exploitation and came very close to hitting the main powder magazine. The fort commander, Colonel Olmstead, had no choice but surrender the fort to the Federal troops.