The Breached Wall LIC

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The image shows the face of Fort Pulaski (on Cockspur Island, near Savannah) facing the western branch of the Savannah River. When built, Fort Pulaski was considered to be impregnable, as no smoothbore cannon could be brought to bear on the fort from within an effective distance. Unfortunately for the fort's Civil War defenders, the Union officer tasked with its capture brought in many large-bore rifled guns (a monumental task, given the swampy ground along the riverbanks). Rifled cannon were not in use when this fort was designed and built. The rifled guns had much greater range, and were capable of delivering heavier projectiles with a much-heavier striking force and with considerably improved accuracy. The still-visible gouges in these walls show how much power these rifled guns had. The brighter red bricks were used by Union engineers to replace the massive breach following the Confederate surrender of the fort. Pulaski's commander noted that, once the walls had been breached, rifled projectiles were striking the outer face of a huge powder magazine directly across the fort's parade ground, a magazine containing 40,000 pounds of black powder. Seeing this, the CS commander wisely decided to hoist the white flag.


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