February 17, 2007
For: Immediate Release
Contact: Charles E. Fenwick, 912-786-5787
Immortal 600 Living History Event - March 3-4, 2007
Superintendent Charles Fenwick announces that the National Park Service will host a special two-day Civil War living history encampment on March 3-4, 2007, at FortPulaskiNational Monument. Civil War re-enactors from around the country will be on hand, portraying Confederate prisoners and Union prison guards. “The Immortal 600” was a special group of Confederate prisoners incarcerated at FortPulaski during the fall and winter of 1864-65. The Immortal 600 prisoners were Confederate officers who were captured at various battlefields. While at FortPulaski these prisoners were placed on starvation diets, and were denied warm clothing and firewood for their damp quarters. Thirteen of these prisoners died at FortPulaski, and were buried outside the fort.
The event will honor the sacrifice of these brave Confederate prisoners. Superintendent Fenwick remarked, ”We feel it is critical to bring this tragic part of our history to light and as Rudyard Kipling once said “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” “I would also like to thank our volunteer coordinator for this event, Rick Joslyn. This will be the largest event with living history volunteers at FortPulaski in more than five years and we are expecting up to 150 volunteers. This is something very special, that we do infrequently and I want to encourage the public not to miss it.” Rick maintains a website on the Immortal 600 and you can visit his site at http://tandpcorbin.home.mindspring.com/I600/index.htm Visitors to the event will be able to learn about the conditions and circumstances of the Confederates’ imprisonment. In-depth tours will be offered hourly, allowing visitors to explore the prison with an expert guide.
Special guided tours will be offered Saturday, March 3, beginning at 10 AM; the final tour will begin at 4 PM. Tours on Sunday, March 4, will be offered beginning at 11 AM; the final tour on Sunday will begin at 2 PM. Fort Pulaski National Monument is on U.S. Hwy 80, 15 miles east of Savannah. An entrance fee of $3 per person is charged; ages 16 and under are free.
The story of the Immortal 600 began on August 20, 1864, when a chosen group of 600 Confederate prisoners of war were transferred from the Fort Delaware Prison to Federally- occupied Morris Island, South Carolina. The purpose of the move was to place these men into a cramped stockade in front of Union artillery positions, to literally use these prisoners as human shields. There they remained, in an open 1.5-acre pen, under the shelling of friendly Confederate artillery fire. Three men died on the starvation rations issued as retaliation for the conditions of the Union prisoners held at Andersonville, Georgia and Salisbury, North Carolina.
On October 21, after 45 days under fire, the weakened survivors were removed to FortPulaski, and crowded into the fort’s cold, damp casemates. For 42 days, a "retaliation ration" of 10 ounces of moldy cornmeal and soured onion pickles was the only food issued to the prisoners. Thirteen men died at FortPulaski, and five later died at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The remaining prisoners were returned to FortDelaware on March 12, 1865, where an additional twenty-five died. The Immortal 600 became famous throughout the South for their adherence to principle and for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance under extremely adverse circumstances.