A Civil War guide Savannah is filled with good ideas that bring you right to the place where history happened. General Sherman’s famed March to the Sea brought him to the Atlantic Ocean, on a collision course with Savannah. Now, a century and a half later, this history still reverberates in one of the oldest cities along the coast. Savannah’s museums, forts, tour guides, and other places with a connection to the Civil War offer the chance to experience history up close. Whether you’re planning to add some history to a weekend getaway or you’re stringing together an entire history tour, you’ll find the genuine article in Savannah.
Savannah History Museum
An excellent place to learn the story of the Georgia coast during the War Between the States, the Savannah History Museum is the anchor of a network of museums. Home to a welcome center and comprehensive exhibits, it’s under the watch of the Coastal Heritage Society, along with the Georgia Railway Museum, Battlefield Memorial Park, and Old Fort Jackson. Together, all of the sites help preserve and share Savannah’s rich history. The city’s story begins long before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter up the coast, and the history museum’s exhibits explain what conditions were like before, during, and after the war arrived. You’ll also have the chance to learn about the history of the Girl Scouts in the place where it began and an opportunity to see the bench from Forest Gump, the Savannah-set movie starring Tom Hanks.
Savannah Forts Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District (flickr)
The history museum nicely sets the stage for a visit to the places where history unfolded. Because of its strategic location, Savannah has been important to the designers of war and protectors of the people alike. Several of the forts from the Civil War era have survived to this day, and they’re some of the most important reminders of this area of history. Visits to forts have long been important things to do for history buffs, and this tradition continues with Fort Jackson, Fort Pulaski, and Fort McAllister.
The Coastal Heritage Society stages living history events and offers tours of Old Fort Jackson. Perched along the Savannah River, the fort is Savannah’s oldest brick structure still standing in the city. Close to the historic district and many of the favorite attractions, the fort hosts weekend cannon firing demonstrations year-round and daily events from spring to fall. The Fort Pulaski National Monument also has living history events and tours that showcase its history. During the war, Confederate troops garrisoned within its walls until the Union’s rifles compelled them to leave. The third fort, Fort McAllister, is now a Georgia State Parks site with camping and history tours. It boasts some of the best remaining Confederate earthenworks still in existence.
Green-Meldrim House Image: Jilly (flickr)
When Gen. Sherman and his men arrived in Savannah, they chose the Green-Meldrim House as their headquarters. Another important Civil War guide Savannah site, this Gothic-revival mansion is one the grandest historic homes in the city. The National Historic Landmark is open for tours, which are provided through one of Savannah’s parishes, Saint John’s Church. A guide will take visitors through the house, explaining both its history and importance.
Forsyth Park Image: jeffgunn (flickr)
Covering 30 acres in the heart of the city, Forsyth Park is home to one of Savannah’s most famous landmarks — the Forsyth Fountain. Built a few years before the Civil War began, the fountain stands as a reminder of the era’s elegance, which was threatened by the war. It’s been restored to its former glory and today remains on the most popular places for photos in all of the city by the sea.
Top image: jeffgunn (flickr)