Field Trip to Old Fort Jackson

Our first field trip with ECHO (our home school group) was a great educational trip to Old Fort Jackson here in the outskirts of Savannah.

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Old Fort Jackson was built in 1808 and utilized during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. It was decommissioned in 1905. It is the “oldest standing brick fortification” in Georgia and has the distinction of being “one of only eight Second System fortifications (a series of forts built prior to the War of 1812) still standing in the United States.”

Our Tour

We had the privilege of enjoying a full tour conducted by Coastal Heritage Society reenactors. The Civil War drill sergeants lead the kids through a Student Militia program where they learned about life as a Civil War soldier.

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Here Steph is helping to demonstrate the art of Semaphore – signaling with flags. They discussed other methods of communication on the battlefield and how Civil War soldiers would utilize those methods during peacetime and war. We learned about signaling with one flag – as opposed to two – and how each letter had a corresponding code made of “1s” and “2s”. Seemed confusing to me but Steph loved getting to help with the lesson.

Next, they showed us Civil War medical instruments and discussed, in brief, how patients would be “cared for” back then. Some of it involved pounds of sulfur hung around your neck and other not so pleasant treatments.

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Here are some of the *lovely* looking instruments. A tourniquet is in the upper left and a leech box is in the lower right. Oh, and that gruesome looking hook in the upper right is a bayonet that has been curved to serve as a body hook. Nice!

Here are a few more pics of the fort:

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Cannon Firing Demonstration

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View from the ramparts (Savannah proper is in the background near the big bridge)

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One of the guard rooms set to appear like it might have been during the war.

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The tools on the wall were used in preparing the cannons to fire. The corkscrew looking ones are called “Worms” and they removed residual material from the prior blast. The “Sponge” looks like a big Q-tip and the “Rammer” was the wooden block on the opposite end of the Sponge.

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Another view of the moat surrounding the fort. This fort was so close to the river that the tidal effects of the river apply to the moat as well.

All in all it was a great tour and the kids are still talking about it. So, that must mean it was a success! If you are in the Savannah area I would recommend visiting this fort in addition to the larger Fort Pulaski located closer to the mouth of the river. This fort is older and smaller but offers an incredible view of the river traffic and a great hands-on learning program suitable for educational field trips.

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