Savannah Senior Activities – Trace Coastal Georgia’s Civil War History
Coastal Georgia Seniors love to research and regale others with tales of our ancestors who were in the Revolutionary War or the War Between the States.
Sometimes it can be nice to get beyond the history books and genealogy charts and look at history up close and in 3-D.
Fortunately for Coastal Empire Seniors, our area is perfect for visiting America’s history.
Today we’re going to touch on a couple of local Savannah area sites that are perfect for Coastal Georgia senior citizen day trips: Old Fort Jackson and the Central Railroad & Banking Company.
Old Fort Jackson
Old Fort Jackson, predates the Civil War with initial construction in 1808.
For almost the duration of the War Between The States, Old Fort Jackson was garrisoned by Confederate soldiers by order of Georgia Governor Joseph Brown. Confederate soldiers were stationed their from 1861 – 1864. Local units like the Irish Jasper Greens, Republican Blues, and the 22nd Georgia Heavy Artillery manned the Fort throughout Confederate occupation.
During this period, Fort Jackson served as the Confederate headquarters for defenses along the Savannah River.
There was an entire network of smaller forts, batteries, and ironclads to assist Fort Jackson in defending Savannah from a Union attack from the East.
Kind of like a Southern Maginot Line. It would have been great if the Union had the courtesy to attack from the East.
Sherman has never been accused of being courteous.
Union General William T. Sherman led an army of 65,000 troops from the West of Savannah on his infamous “March to the Sea”.
On December 20, 1864, the Confederate garrison was forced to abandon Fort Jackson. The next day Federal troops from the 29th Ohio and 28th Pennsylvania entered Fort Jackson and raised the Union flag over the parade ground.
African American troops from the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry were the last wartime occupants of the Fort.
Our history is fascinating – visit Old Fort Jackson to learn more. If you have grandchildren, call ahead to see when they will be shooting the cannons. Grand kids love cannons.
Central Railroad & Banking Company
The Georgia State Railroad Museum began in 1836 in Savannah as the Central Railroad & Banking Company.
Each of the years leading up to the Civil War, the CentralRailroad was profitable. It controlled 229 miles of Georgia track and had the second largest holding of rolling stock in the South.
This changed drastically when the Confederate Government ordered railroads to release rolling stock to those railroads carrying the most military traffic.
The Central’s Savannah shops were also put to work producing Confederate gun carriages and other much needed military equipment.
Between 1861 and 1863 the Central was able to continue to make a profit but passenger service became more important than freight. Much of this change was because of the difficulty during the war of exporting cotton through Savannah, and the South’s need for more civilian and military passenger service.
In 1864 during “Sherman’s March to the Sea”, Union troops destroyed track, bridges, and other railroad facilities. Although the Savannah Shops complex was spared during the war, the Central lost 140 miles of track, 14 locomotives, and 97 railcars.
The loss was devastating for the company – and could have been fatal.
At the close of the War, the Central had lost much of its greatness, but by 1867 was again making a profit with most of the revenue coming again from the freight business. The post-War expansion saw the replacement of all destroyed rail connections and the addition of 1,500 miles of new track.
Today, the Museum is a wonderful window into the once dominate railroad industry and a link to Civil War era Savannah.
It’s a perfect Coastal Georgia senior citizen day trip destination, popular with Savannah senior clubs and Coastal Georgia church senior ministry groups.
We would love to assist you.
- Daryl Fant, Publisher Coastal Empire Seniors
- (512) 567-8068
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