Constructed between 1829 and 1847, Fort Pulaski was created as part of a national defense system designed to safeguard important cities and ports along the eastern coast of America from foreign attack. On January 3, 1861, Georgia State troops took possession of the federal fort with orders from the Governor to "hold it against all persons". On April 10, 1862, Union forces, under the command of Major General David Hunter, demanded the unconditional surrender of the fort. Confederate Colonel Charles H. Olmstead refused the demand, and the two sides soon began exchanging cannon fire. After 30 hours of battle, the Union forces prevailed and took possession of the fort.
On April 13, 1862, Gen. Hunter announced in General Order No. 7, that "All persons of color lately held to involuntary service by enemies of the United States in Fort Pulaski and on Cockspur Island, Georgia, are hereby confiscated and declared free, in conformity with the law, and shall here after receive the fruits of their own labor…." This order was issued approximately eight months before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Until the end of the Civil War, Fort Pulaski served as a destination for enslaved people attempting to reach freedom. It also played an important role as a recruitment station for freed African American males that wanted to serve in one of the nation’s first black regiments , the First South Carolina Volunteer Infantry
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: P.O. Box 30757, Savannah, 31410
National Park Unit: Yes
Ownership: John Breen, Supt.
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: Major General David Hunter