Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Monday, November 06, 2017

Fort King George, GA

Fort King George is the oldest English Fort established on what is now the Georgia coast. The fort was built in  1721 and manned by British troops to encourage British settlers to establish farms and communities in the area and to discourage French and Spanish settlers from doing the same.  The fort remained an active post until 1727.  The fort was never attacked and no troops were killed or injured in battle.  Nevertheless, they suffered great losses from difficult conditions and diseases. 140 members of the force, included the commanding officer, died from various diseases and poor sanitary conditions.  The fort was abandoned in 1727.

Today, there is a visitor center and interpretive exhibit on the site of the reconstructed fort, which details the history of the fort and other important activities that occurred on the site over the years.  You can walk through the reconstructed site and imagine the harsh conditions that led to the deaths of so many of the soldiers at the fort.  There is a grave yard where be at least 109 graves are located but only a few headstones remain.  None of those resting here are identified by name.  Some of the graves were likely flooded over the years by the changes in the river nearby.  More headstones were known to be here, but many were vandalized or simply stolen sometime in the past.

In 1736, General James Oglethorpe brought Scottish Highlanders to the area to settle on the site of the old Fort.  These settlers founded the town of New Inverness, later named Darien, nearby.  We made a very quick stop in Darien, since the main street was under major repair and vehicles were parked everywhere a free spot of grass or dirt could be found.  We found a spot to park briefly to walk along the newly renovated waterfront park.  There are many listed sites that we missed in this charming town and hopefully we will be passing thru again sometime.    

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fort McAllister State Park

Our next stop was Fort McAllister State Park located on the Ogeechee River south of Savannah.  This park  has an important Civil War site on the grounds.  The south had build a number of substantial forts along the river farther out towards the sea on barrier islands to defend the approaches to Savannah Harbor from attack and resist the Union naval blockade.   The plantation owners wanted additional protection for their property.  Plantation owner Joseph McAllister, who owned extensive land along the river, donated the land for a simple earthen fort to be built. In 1861 construction began with slave labor and local Confederate militia.  The fort proved to be very effective in preventing the union ships from moving on the river and held against heavy bombardment better than the more modern constructed forts along the river. 

By 1864 the Union had developed more powerful cannon and artillery.  Union General Sherman watched the destruction of the fort on 13 Dec, 1864 before continuing on to take Savannah.

An interpretive center in the park provides a good insight into the history of the fort and information on the Civil War in general.

One letter from President Lincoln  to A H Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy highlights the slavery issue as Lincoln saw it. This letter suggests that, in 1860, Lincoln was not going to free all southern slaves, if the southern states abandoned their attempt to secede from the union. 

Today, there is a reconstructed earthen fort on the grounds built from the original plans. After visiting the interpretive center, you can really visualize the importance of the fort to the south.

The camping area is about a mile drive from the check in office. It is located in a swamp like  area mostly surrounded by water.  It can be a little tight for bigger rigs.  Anneke immediately ran into some of the abundant wildlife when she headed to the trash containers and found at least three raccoons checking the containers out for goodies.  We enjoyed a few hours outside,  but as darkness settled in we decided to head indoors.  The raccoons were in the trees nearby and alligators and snakes are commonly seen here.