The Civil War is only one part of the rich history of the Savannah and coastal area. With Richmond, Charleston, Mobile, and New Orleans, Savannah was one of the premier cities of the Confederacy and remains a major historic treasure today. Savannah’s Historic Riverfront contains many of the same buildings that greeted General Sherman when his army occupied the city.
At the time of the War, Darien was a small village of vital interest to Confederate blockage runners. In 1863 the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (Colored Infantry) led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw saw some of the first action by black troops in the War. The 54th occupied the town in an attempt to destroy crucial supplies and seize blockade materials. This action resulted in the burning of Darien, destroying most of the village. The town today is rebuilt and contains historic buildings and homes.
Exit 42 off I-95, north on US 17 approximately 6 miles across the Altamaha River Sound
Fort Pulaski National Monument (NRHP)
This brick masonry fort was designed by a French engineer and built from 1829-1847; young Lt. Robert E. Lee was assigned to build the dikes and drainage system for the island in 1829-1831. The fort’s capture by Union forces in April 1862 following bombardment by shells and rifled cannon demonstrated that fortifications of this design had been rendered obsolete. Advance reservations are required to tour the fort with a group. A picnic area and visitor center are on the grounds. Reenactments are held twice a year, and a candlelight tour is held annually.
I-16 to US 80 East; fort located on Cockspur Island, 17 miles east of Savannah, 4 miles west of Tybee Island
- Fort Morris State Historic Site (NRHP)
Visitors can stand within the Fort Morris earthworks remaining form the War of 1812 and view scenic Saint Catherine’s Sound. In the museum visitors can see exhibits on the colonial port of Sunbury and on the Civil War. Although Fort Morris was not occupied during the Civil War, the town of Sunbury was occupied for several months by Gen. Kilpatrick’s Union Cavalry in late 1864.
Located 7 miles east of I-95 via GA 38
- Midway Museum
The furnished museum is a reproduction of a late 18th-century raised cottage and interprets coastal Georgia history. Exhibits include Civil War documents and books. The Midway Museum is within the Midway Historic District.
Fort McAllister State Historic State (NRHP)
394 A Fort McAllister Road
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Fort McAllister is a massive earthwork that withstood seven major naval attacks, including the largest guns used by the Union Navy. It anchored the southern end of the defenses of Savannah. When it fell on December 13, 1864, to Gen. Sherman’s invading land forces, Savannah was doomed. A museum at the site offers a film on the fort and relics from the war, including artifacts from the blockade runner CSS Nashville.
Exit 90 off I-95; 10 miles east to site
- Fort Jackson (NRHP)
1 Fort Jackson Road
Savannah, GA 31404
Fort Jackson was one of the interior forts guarding Savannah’s river approach during the War. It was never taken by navy vessels. Today the fort houses a museum featuring the naval history of the area and artifacts from the CSS Georgia.
Leave Savannah eastbound on Bay St. toward Tybee Island. Approximately 2.5 miles out of town, watch for sign on the left.
- Green-Meldrim House (NRHP)
St. John’s Church
1 West Macon Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Restored and furnished mid-19th century Gothic Revival style home of Charles Green, which served as the headquarters for Gen. Sherman during the winter of 1864-5. Owned and operated by St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Adjacent to Madison Square across from the DeSoto Hotel
- King-Tisdell Cottage (NRHP)
514 East Huntingdon Street
Savannah, GA 31401
Exhibits in the museum interpret the history of blacks in Savannah and the surrounding islands. This museum is in an award-winning restored and furnished Victorian-style house with a unique gingerbread porch. King-Tisdell also possesses documents which reveal the role that blacks played during the Civil War. The nearby Beach Institute, built in 1865 and locate don its original site, is the first school for freed African-Americans built by the American Missionary Association.
- Savannah History Museum (NRHP)
303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Savannah, GA 31401
In the Visitor Center building
A restored 19th-century railroad terminal houses this museum and includes two theaters that tell the history of Savannah. The railroad terminal was used in the filming of the movie, Glory, about the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Colored Infantry. The Battle of Savannah in 1779 is featured and a section of the historical exhibit displays Civil War memorabilia. The Museum is part of the Central of Georgia Railroad complex, a National Historic Landmark. The Historic Riverfront contains many of the same buildings that greeted General Sherman when his army occupied the city.
Founded as a religious settlement in Colonial times, Ebenezer is a Methodist campground and retreat that dates back to 1790. Ebenezer was a possible target on Sherman’s March to the Sea. Although not touched by Sherman, it was a point of struggle between Wheeler’s cavalry and Sherman’s left wing. After a skirmish near Ebenezer Creek, Confederate forces fell back to the defenses of Savanna. Nearby, in the town of Guyton, was a basic training camp for Confederate soldiers, a Confederate hospital and a vital rail junction and depot. None of the Civil War vintage buildings exist in Guyton today.
Exit 109 off I-95, north of Savannah, 16 miles to Springfield