Tag Archives: muskets

Fort Jackson – the little fort that could…

fort jackson visitors centreFort Jackson is a restored 19th century fort on the banks of the Savannah River. It is a National Historic Monument and the oldest standing brick fort in Georgia.

In 1808 Fort Jackson was started as a brick fortification, built upon an old earthen battery from the Revolutionary War, as part of Thomas Jefferson’s national defence fortification system. Fort Jackson saw fairly immediate use during the War of 1812 against the British. During the 1840’s & 50’s additional construction occurred with the addition of a moat, drawbridge, barracks, privies a rear wall and another powder magazine.

The intent of Fort Jackson was to protect the City of Savannah that was just upriver. During the Civil War, it was a Confederate fort that successfully held back numerous Union attacks. Even well after Fort Pulaski down stream had been taken. It was turned over to the Union troops when General Sherman took Savannah on his famous “March to the Sea”.

Having spent the morning at Fort Pulaski, it was interesting to see the difference in size, structure and approach to construction during different time periods. We were lucky to be the only ones in the fort when we visited (bad weather scared off most people) so we got a personalized musket firing demonstration. You can never see enough of these!

fort jackson soldier with musketThrough all of our reading and fort adventures, Hunter had really become quite knowledgeable about the who/what/where/when of American Revolutionary & Civil Wars. He can recite all of the steps and tools used to fire both muskets and cannons and has his eye out for civil war costumes that he can pick up for halloween next year.

fort jackson hunter confederate hat

Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine Florida

hunter castillo soldiersThe Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. It was built by Spain in 1672 and finished in 1699. It was built after the previous 9 wooden forts had been burnt down since St. Augustine’s establishment in 1565.  It is now a National Monument managed by the National Park Service.

hunter castillo overview

It was our first fort as part of our current American History school work and it was a hit! Even though the wind was blowing and the temps were quite cold, we stayed a good 2 hours wandering through every room, watching the videos, reading the signs and completing our Junior Ranger Badge.

lee hunter castillo entranceHunter was quite enthralled with all of the people in period costume and has added this to his very long list of possible jobs for when he grows up.

The highlight of this stop was the live cannon firing. We learned all about the steps that are taken, the drills that the soldiers do and then got to watch them fire the cannon. It was all very formal and hard to envision in the heat of battle

Another great National Parks Junior Ranger program completed and another badge earned with pride.

castillo junior ranger

St. Augustine – North America’s oldest city

tim hunter ponce de leonSt. Augustine was founded in 1565 and has the title of the oldest city in North America. It is a fairly small city (population approx 30,000) and it is packed with historic buildings and sights.

We had originally planned to stay a week and spend our days surfing and sightseeing. A cold front blew in with very cool temps, high winds and rains so we dropped the surfing idea and packed in 2 very full days of sightseeing!

Over the two days we checked out the Visitors Centre, the Pirate Museum, the Government House, the Castillo de San Marcos, the Colonial Quarters and wandered around the old historic town checking out buildings and seeing the sights.

On Friday night we checked out the Light up the Nights display (on National Geographic’s Top 10 light display list), caught an outdoor magic show at the Colonial Quarters and wandered historic St. George Street checking out the cool shops and comparing weapons with other fellow pirates…

hunter pirate st. augustine

hunter weapons shop st augustineWe also had fun experiencing different foods while here – we tried fried alligator, fried green tomatoes and chocolate covered bacon. Fried Alligator was a hit – almost like a white fish, definitely not like chicken. Fried Green tomatoes were “OK” – I had higher hopes for them. Chocolate covered bacon was a thumbs down, which was a surprise based on it combining 2 favourite things…

chocolate bacon