We woke up to a pretty dreary and slightly windy day. But we didn’t let that stop us. With a lunch packed we headed off to Fort Pulaski National Monument to catch the 11:00 tour. We arrive in the nick of time. The volunteer giving the talk was named….ah crud, we never did ask his name. But this fella was a story teller and he did it in a style where he took us back in time and made us feel like we were part of the action. He got so into taking us on a tour of history and the fort that he ran out of time and had to speed through the last little bit. But he hung around for questions of which we had a few.
The engineering that went into this fort was pretty amazing. The whole thing is sitting on a bunch of yellow pine timbers driven into the marshy ground. EVERYTHING to build the fort needed to be brought in from somewhere else. There were millions of bricks used of two different types: a less strong but more readily available brick and one that was much sturdier but harder to acquire. There was no fresh water so a massive rain catchment, filtration and storage system was designed and built. It turns out the place has tidal flushing toilets like the ones at Fort Zachary Taylor. There were cannons on the top level but also in each of the arched casemates below. The casemates had large wooden doors that would be closed during battle. So an ingenious ventilation system was designed to evacuate cannon smoke from the casemate area.
We learned a lot about the evolution of the cannons from the inaccurate smooth bore cannons to the more devastating rifled cannons. And, just like at Fort Zachary Taylor, the advent of the rifled cannon made obsolete this masonry fort that only a few years before was considered state-of-the-art.
We went to the visitor center so Dacen could do a video call with his class back in Longmont. Then we ate our picnic lunch in the truck to stay out of the wind. I stayed in the truck to do some work while Steph and the kids explored the outside of the fort where you can see some impressive damage that one of the fort walls took.
The kids were able to earn another Jr Ranger badge here and also got credit for visiting a Civil War site. If they visit 3 they apparently can get a special patch as a Junior Civil War Historian!
We had heard so much about Tybee Island so we headed out there for a look. As near as we could tell there was no free parking. So we paid for a spot and walked out to the beach. It was insanely windy. The kids kicked off their shoes and played in the very foamy surf, Steph searched for shells and I watched the kiteboarders. The highlight of this stop for Brielle was this butterfly she found on the beach. It was not alive but how the fragile thing had not blown away I have no idea.
Another great day out exploring.
Crane for lifting cannons
Family at the fort
Papa, some kids and cannon
On the walls
Wall, moat, kids