Open daily. Adult admission $7. Leashed pets welcome.
See below: full visitor information
Old Fort Jackson is one of the few surviving brick fortifications in the United States built as part of the Second System of fortifications, constructed in the early years of the 19th century to reinforce and defend strategic points and ports along the coast.
The site chosen for Fort Jackson was of longstanding tactical importance: an earlier earthwork fort was begun there during the Revolutionary War, but never completed due to the heavy death toll amidst the malarial coastal swamp. Savannah, an important southern port, had no defenses besides the small and unmanned Fort Green on Cockspur Island, near the mouth of the Savannah River.
Construction of Fort Jackson, named for the British-born officer of the Revolutionary War and later Governor of Georgia, James Jackson, began in 1808. Four years later, most of the brickwork was completed and the guns were mounted that summer, just in time for the War of 1812.
The fort saw no real action, used only as a garrison for troops. Disease remained a problem, and Fort Jackson was abandoned after the war. Attention turned instead to Cockspur Island as the main point of defense for Savannah and the Georgia coast.
In the 1850s, some repairs and extension work were done to the now-dilapidated Fort Jackson: a moat and drawbridge, and new barracks, along with a rear wall and additional powder magazine.
During the Civil War, Fort Jackson’s primary importance was again as a garrison for troops; Union attacks focused on Fort Pulaski, upstream on Cockspur Island. After the Civil War, Fort Jackson was obsolete as a defensive structure, unable to withstand attack from rifled cannon. The fort was decommissioned in 1905.
What To See & Do
Fort Jackson’s main significance is as an unusually-complete example of Second System fort architecture, still retaining most of the original features of the fort as designed by Captain William McRee, a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers, in 1808. It is the oldest surviving brick fort in Georgia.
Fort Jackson has an irregularly-shaped gun battery, facing the Savannah River. Casements beneath the gun platform were used as storage, space for offices, and cells. Behind the battery is a brick wall, with four demi bastions at its corners allowing additional angles of defense. A moat surrounds the battery and walls, filled by means of a tunnel running through to the river.
The modifications made to the fort in the mid-19th century, under the Third System of coastal defenses, did not substantially change the original features of the fort, mostly replacing wooden structures (such as the original gun platform and palisade) with brick equivalents.
A film and signs around the fort provide historical background, and staff are on hand to answer any additional questions. Cannon firings are given most days, usually at 11am and 2pm, though the schedule can vary.
Special interpretive programs are occasionally offered at Old Fort Jackson, see the official calendar for details of upcoming events.
The following is correct at the time of writing. Please verify details before planning your trip. For additional information, call 912-232-3945 or visit the official website.
Opening hours Old Fort Jackson is open daily, 9am-5pm. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Admission Adults $7, children (2-12) $4. Combination ticket allowing entrance to three Coastal Heritage Society sites is also available, adults $17, children (2-12) $11. See details
Pets Leashed pets are welcome at Fort Jackson.
Getting To Fort Jackson
Address 1 Fort Jackson Road, Savannah, GA 31404
GPS coordinates N 32.0819, W -081.0361
Old Fort Jackson is located on the southern bank of the Savannah River, a few miles east of Savannah’s Historic District. See on map
Driving Driving is currently the most convenient way to get to the fort. Parking is available on-site. Get directions
Approximate distances and travel times, each way (assuming traffic is not heavy), are as follows:
– From Savannah: 5 miles, 10-15 minutes.
– From Tybee Island: 16 miles, 25-30 minutes.
– From Hilton Head: 40 miles, around 1 hour.
Taxi Traveling to Fort Jackson by taxi, expect to pay, each way (including tip), about $12-$16 from Savannah’s Historic District, and around $40-$45 from Tybee Island.
Public transport It is possible but not practical to visit Fort Jackson via public transport. The nearest bus service, Chatham Area Transit (CAT) Route 10, stops a little over a mile and a half from the fort. There is a walkable grass verge alongside of the road the rest of the way.
The bus runs hourly on weekdays and Saturdays, every 90 minutes on Sundays and every 2 hours on holidays (see official route and schedule for more details).
Walking/cycling Fort Jackson’s distance from Savannah makes it impractical to walk there. There is no dedicated cycle path out to the fort, but on-road cycling along less-busy roads is an option for experienced cyclists.