Fort James Jackson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Old Fort Jackson
Glowna brama..JPG
Moat at Fort Jackson
Fort James Jackson is located in Georgia (U.S. state)
Fort James Jackson
Fort James Jackson is located in the US
Fort James Jackson
LocationIslands Expwy., Chatham County, near Savannah, Georgia
Coordinates32°4′55″N 81°2′10″W / 32.08194°N 81.03611°W / 32.08194; -81.03611Coordinates: 32°4′55″N 81°2′10″W / 32.08194°N 81.03611°W / 32.08194; -81.03611
ArchitectWilliam McRee
NRHP reference #70000200
Significant dates
Added to NRHPFebruary 18, 1970[1]
Designated NHLFebruary 16, 2000[2]
Fort James Jackson is a National Historic Landmark.
Inside Fort James Jackson
Opposite side of the inside of the fort

Fort James Jackson (usually called Old Fort Jackson or shortened to Fort Jackson) is a restored 19th-century fort located on the Savannah River, two miles east of the city of Savannah in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest standing brick fort in Georgia.[3]



U.S. President Thomas Jefferson authorized the construction of a national defense system of fortifications to defend his new nation. Jefferson's system included Fort Jackson, constructed between 1808 and 1812 over an old earthen battery from the American Revolution. At the time, war with Great Britain or France seemed likely, and Fort Jackson was the best site from which to protect Savannah from attack by sea. In the War of 1812, local militias and U.S. troops saw active duty at Fort Jackson. After the War of 1812, two periods of construction followed at the fort. A moat, drawbridge, brick barracks, privies, a rear wall, and another powder magazine were added.[3]

James Jackson, the namesake of the fort, was a British native who fought for the American cause and rose to the rank of colonel. When he was twenty-five, Jackson accepted the surrender of the British in Savannah at the close of the revolution. He was later a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and Governor of Georgia. He is interred at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C..[3]

American Civil War[edit]

During the American Civil War, Fort Jackson, along with nearby Fort McAllister and Fort Pulaski, defended Savannah from Union attack. In 1862, Fort Jackson was shelled from a ship captained by an escaped slave named Robert Smalls. The fort was commanded by Colonel Edward Clifford Anderson and would become the Confederate Headquarters for the Savannah River defenses, including the Confederate Navy.

When the Union Army commanded by William T. Sherman captured Savannah by land on December 20, 1864, Confederate troops abandoned the fort and retreated across the Savannah River into South Carolina. Confederate troops from Savannah joined other forces in North Carolina and South Carolina and continued to fight until April 26, 1865, when they surrendered to General Sherman's army at Durham, North Carolina. Several different regiments garrisoned Fort Jackson during the Union occupation of Savannah. One of these units was the 55th Massachusetts Regiment, which consisted of African American troops.[3]

Post Civil War[edit]

From 1884 to 1905, Fort Jackson was known as Fort Oglethorpe and was little used by the U.S. military. It was purchased by the city of Savannah in 1924 for park purposes but not fully restored until the 1970s.[2][4]

Fort Jackson is located at 1 Fort Jackson Road,[4] on the Islands Expressway linking Savannah to Fort Pulaski and the town of Tybee Island.[2]

Fort Jackson is owned by the state of Georgia and operated as a museum by Coastal Heritage Society, which also manages Savannah History Museum, Georgia State Railroad Museum (formerly the Railroad Roundhouse Museum), Savannah Children's Museum and, most recently, Pin Point Heritage Museum.[3]

In the summer the fort has a daily cannon-firing demonstration. Admission is $7 for adults.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c "Fort James Jackson". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  3. ^ a b c d e Old Fort Jackson brochure
  4. ^ a b Jefferson C. Reed and Mark R. Barnes (August 21, 1998). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Fort James Jackson / Fort Oglethorpe" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying five photos, exterior and interior, from 1998 (32 KB)

External links[edit]