Thursday, November 19, 2015

Before the storm . . . Fort McAllister

Fort McAllister was a Confederate earthwork along the banks of the Ogeechee River, positioned to protect nearby Savannah from the Union Army.

In November, 1864, Sherman's Army had burned Atlanta and were on their March to the Sea, with the capture of Savannah in their sights.  The soldiers garrisoned at Fort McAllister knew they were in Sherman's path, but couldn't do much more than pass the time, waiting for the attack to come.

Mundane daily life at the Fort consisted of watches,  

chopping wood, cannon drills,

and tending the "Hot Shot Furnace."

This furnace was used to heat the cannonballs until they were white hot - deadly to wooden ships - capable of igniting a wooden log in 5 seconds.  This is the only working hot shot furnace east of the Mississippi River, and on this day it was busy cooking a couple hams for the troops' dinner.

We walked through the fort, and were able to look inside the bomb-proof bunker,

and the gunpowder and ammunition storage bunker.

Overlooking the Ogeechee River, there are several cannons,

and reinforced trenches to protect the fort from the surrounding woods.

After touring the grounds we walked over to the Officer's Quarters, 

where the soldiers were gathering for a Civil War era baseball game.  While the guys discussed the rules of "stick ball",

I wandered around the Officers' Quarters.


Spectators gathered, and teams were formed,


and soon the game began.  It wasn't very different from modern baseball -- except the ball was softer (good thing, because they didn't use mitts!), the rules on outs were a little strange -- a catch after just one bounce got the batter out, and a catch with no bounce ended the inning for the team!  They were also mostly barefoot . . . and home plate was a sheet of steel!! Yikes!

They played a few innings, and we enjoyed the entertainment.     

It was a nice afternoon, and we even had a good spot next to the campfire to keep us warm as it cooled off as the sun went behind the trees.  In the distance, we could hear artillery fire at Fort Stewart . . . it was so strange . . . I thought it was part of the re-enactment, but it wasn't.

In a few weeks, they'll be back at the fort again . . . but I don't think there will be fun & games going on . . . they'll be under attack by General Sherman and his Union Army!


  1. Those Re-enactors looked like they belonged back in the day. We visited Savannah but didn't get a chance to visit the forts.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Living History is so much more interesting than reading about it :o)) Nice photos!!


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