Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Re-enactment Dec. 11 at fort near Savannah

Fort McAllister near Savannah, Ga., withstood seven Union naval assaults during the Civil War, but a land assault on Dec. 13, 1864, would be the sentinel’s undoing.

Unlike the brick and supposedly impregnable Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River, McAllister had a unique design of earthworks that thwarted the Union navy. Its guns drove off attackers and troops replaced damaged areas with dirt and marsh mud.

Taking the fort on the Ogechee River was a vital part of Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s siege of Savannah. He wanted it eliminated so that ships could resupply his hungry and tired army.

“He thought he was going to have fight his way to Savannah,” said Danny Brown, park manager at Fort McAllister State Park, which is sponsoring a Dec. 11 battle re-enactment.

The winter muster and re-enactment will happen at 5 p.m., “right when the original took place,” said Brown.

The tide was out that day and the vastly outnumbered Rebels were looking into the sun when troops rushed into the fort. The intense fight was over in 15 minutes.

“Federal infantry poured across the narrow causeway linking Genesis Point with the mainland, despite the mining of the approaches to the fort by the Confederates,” according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. “Sherman observed the successful attack from a vantage point atop the rice mill of the Cheves Plantation across the river.”

Confederate Gen. William Hardee evacuated Savannah a few days later.

The site became a prison camp and fell into decay after the war. Auto magnate Henry Ford funded a restoration of Fort McAllister in the 1930s.

About 100 re-enactors will be hand from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at the fort, which is near Richmond Hill, about 20 miles southwest of Savannah. Confederates will be preparing for the assault and Union troops will practice an assault and scaling ladders before the 5 p.m. battle, Brown said.

The re-enactors will explain the battle and the public can witness cannon fire demonstrations. Units will include the Emmett Rifles and 22nd Georgia Heavy Artillery from Savannah. Union units to be represented include the 25th Ohio and Illinois troops.

The cost is $3.50 for children and $5 for adults.

More info on Fort McAllister State Park

No comments:

Post a Comment