Savannah, Georgia - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
River Street in Savannah is virtually unchanged
since the early 1800s, its one-time riverfront
warehouses now hold shops and restaurants.
Historic Mercer House in Savannah
was a focal point in the book and
movie Midnight in the Garden of
Good and Evil.
Christ Church in Savannah
The "Mother Church of Georgia,"
Christ Church was founded in
1733 with Rev. John Wesley
serving as rector in 1736-1737.
Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Charm & Mystery in Savannah
The historic river has given the City
of Savannah its life since its
founding in 1733.
|Copyright 2011 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: November 15, 2015
One of the most beautiful cities in the world,
historic Savannah, Georgia, was founded in
1733 by General James Oglethorpe.
The British governor and general came up
the Savannah River to the Yamacraw Bluff on
a mission to establish a new colony in
America. Created as a buffer zone between
South Carolina and Florida, Oglethorpe's
colony of Georgia was established on
Spain had occupied the seacoast islands of
the coast, which it called Guale, a century
earlier and still claimed ownership of the
region. Oglethorpe challenged that claim,
igniting a war that permanently settled the
debate in favor of England. Spanish troops
never attacked Savannah itself, but heavy
fighting took place to the south near Fort
Frederica. Please click here to learn more.
Once the seizure of the lands of Georgia from
Spain was made complete by military action,
Savannah became the important port city for
a colony that grew to exceed anything even
Oglethorpe could have imagined. Homes,
churches and businesses grew along the
bluff and around the beautiful squares
created by Oglethorpe himself.
By the time of the American Revolution,
Savannah was one of the most important
cities in the colonies and one of the first
battles of the Revolutionary War - the Battle of
the Rice Boats - was fought here.
A series of battles were fought in and around
the city during the American Revolution, the
largest of which was the Battle of Savannah
in 1779. A major American and French army,
which included 500 black troops from
Jamaica, laid siege to an outnumbered
British force in Savannah that year.
Also called the Second Battle of Savannah,
the siege lasted from September 16 to
October 18, 1779, and was one of the
bloodiest battles of the American Revolution.
The British had surrounded the city with a
strong line of earthwork fortifications which
enabled them to hold out against the larger
allied army. The Americans and French tried
to storm a section of these works on October
9, 1779, concentrating their attack on the
Spring Hill Redoubt. The attack ended in
bloody failure and claimed the life of Count
Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman who
came to fight int he cause of American liberty
and is remembered today as the father of the
The siege ended with the British still in
control of Savannah and the Americans and
French having suffered losses in the range of
244 killed and 584 wounded. British losses
were much smaller.
The Spring Hill Redoubt has been rebuilt at
Battlefield Park next to the Savannah History
Museum. Another noted Revolutionary War
landmark in the city is the grave of famed
Patriot general Nathaniel Greene, who was
buried there in later years.
During the antebellum era, Savannah
became one of the richest ports in the South.
The first steamship crossing of the Atlantic
left from here and millions of dollars in cargo
passed through the city's warehouses and
docks. Many of its beautifully preserved
homes and commercial buildings date from
War again came to Savannah in 1861, when
Georgia militia troops seized Fort Pulaski,
the city's primary harbor defense, and also
occupied Old Fort Jackson, an early 19th
century fort on the edge of the city itself.
As the Civil War progressed, Confederate
troops surrounded the city with miles of forts,
batteries and trenches, while ironclad and
wooden gunboats patrolled the Savannah
River. Fort Pulaski fell to Union cannon in
1862 after a two day battle considered one of
the first great triumphs of rifled artillery.
Although Union troops held Fort Pulaski after
that point, they were unable to take Savannah
itself until General William Tecumseh
Sherman's army arrived on the outskirts of
the city at the end of his infamous March to
Squares of Savannah
The beautiful design of the city, with
its many squares providing places
of peace and beauty, is a surviving
gift from founder James Oglethorpe.
After storming the earthwork Fort McAllister
south of the city on December 13, 1864,
Sherman began siege operations against
Savannah itself. Outnumbered Confederate
troops led by General William J. Hardee held
their defenses without flinching until
December 20, 1864, when they slipped away
in the night and escaped the besieged city.
Sherman occupied Savannah the next day,
establishing his headquarters in the still-
standing Green-Meldrim House. He quickly
sent his famed "Christmas gift" telegram to
President Abraham Lincoln:
I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the
City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty
guns and plenty of ammunition, also about
twenty-five thousand bales of cotton
In the years after the Civil War, Savannah
remained a beautiful and charming enclave
of Old South charm on the Atlantic Coast. The
squares and tree-shaded streets of the city
have grown even more beautiful with each
passing year and a magnificent restoration
campaign has created one of the largest
preserved historic districts in the world.
Nor was the 20th century in Savannah
without great significance. Famed composer
Johnny Mercer ("Moon River," "Stardust,"
"Skylark") was born and spent his youth in
the city. He is buried there today at
Bonaventure Cemetery where the inscription
at his grave reads, "And the Angels sing."
Other noted Americans have called
Savannah home at one point or another
including writer Flannery O'Connor, actors
James and Stacey Keach, Academy Award
winning actor James Coburn, Supreme
Court justices Clarence Thomas and Girl
Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low.
Its most famous residents, however, have
likely been the members a dynasty of English
bulldogs owned by Savannah lawyer Sonny
Seiler. They serve as the mascots of the
University of Georgia Bulldogs.
Savannah is the setting for the book and
movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and
Evil, with which the city has a love/hate
relationship. The book spins a fairly bizarre
story of unusual activities, but the real
Savannah is charming and hospitable city
with beautiful architecture, hundreds of
historic sites and some of the kindest people
in the world. Please click here to learn more.
City of Beautiful Churches
The beautiful and historic
Independent Presbyterian Church
towers above the ancient oaks of
Forsyth Park in Savannah
Green water pours from the
fountain in Forsyth Park in honor of
St. Patrick's Day. The city is home
to one of the nation's largest St.
Patrick's Day celebrations.
|Photos by Jamie Bennett & Roger Moore
History on the Georgia Coast