My favorite subject in school during my formative years was history. I liked math and science as well but the history teachers I had made history fun and interesting. I remember my 7th grade teacher, Mr. Yanak, especially. He would have us write our congressmen and ask for campaign materials: buttons, bumper stickers, signed photos, etc. And I did. I’ve got a folder full of photos of famous and infamous politicians: Hubert Humphrey, Ted Kennedy, Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, etc.
But my favorite era of history to study was the American Civil War. How could our civil society get caught up in a war among brothers, families, North and South, the Union and the Confederates? It bothered me and I wanted to find out why. So, my 7th grade thesis was about the causes and effects of the Civil War.
Today, I’ll skip the thesis and take you on a short field trip to Fort McAllister just south of Savannah Georgia.
Fort McAllister guarded the waterways into the the big war supply-line town of Savannah. Cannons took aim at any vessel up and down the river though not many battles were fought here. There were a few ships that shot cannonballs at the fort and the fort volleyed back. In this bunker was a hot oven used to heat cannonballs red hot and fire at the wooden ships on the river. When the hot ball splintered the deck of the wooden ship, guess what? That’s right! It would catch fire. Interestingly enough this is where we get the term “hot shot”. Thanks Travis, our tour guide, I learned something new about the Civil War.
The second battle at this fort is what put this site on the Civil War map. Near the end of the war, during the final stages of Sherman’s March to the Sea campaign, his Union troops outnumbered the Confederates 4000 to 230. It was these land mines planted outside the fort that caused more Union casualties than Confederates who surrendered fifteen minutes later. Sherman took the fort and, unlike Atlanta, the war weary General spared burning Savannah to the ground.
The following year the war was over. AND lucky for you, this tour is over as is the blog. But PLEASE don’t tell me you surrendered just after reading about famous and infamous politicians. By the way, it’s a good year to write to some of these CHUMPS and inquire about their campaign junk. You might be sent a hat. I’m not going to bother this time.
The best part of OUR field trip was there were just four of us on the guided tour AND it was dog-friendly! Just don’t remind Carlos of the hot shot cannonball. He may go fetch it out of the Ogeechee river.