Cisterns of the Construction Village

Cisterns of the Construction Village (HM8J1)

Location: Tybee Island, GA 31328 Chatham County
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Country: United States of America
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N 32° 1.646', W 80° 53.558'

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Fort Pulaski National Monument

Robert E. Lee, newly graduated from theUnited States Military Academy at WestPoint, joined Major Samuel Babcock of theArmy Corps of Engineers in 1829 to beginwork on building a construction village on this site. Two years later Lee transferred toHampton Roads, Virginia. Due to failinghealth, Babock was replaced by LieutenantJoseph K.F. Mansfield in 1831 who completedthe construction village. Mansfield remeinedin charge of all work on Cockspur Island until1845 and deserves primary credit for the construction of Fort Pulaski.
Drawing of Construction Village
The construction village contained the shopsand quarters required by workers buildingFort Pulaski. Enslaved African Americans,rented from owners of neighboring riceplantations, performed much of the hardlabor. Skilled masons and carpenters,including freed African Americans, wererecruited not only in Savannah but werealso brought down each fall from NorthernStates. Workers suffered from malariayellow fever, typhoid, dysentery, destructivehurricanes and bone-chilling winter galesduring the eighteen years that it took to complete the fort.

Fresh drinking water was an importantbut scarce commodity in the saltyenvironment of Cockspur Island.Pipes running off roofs of buildingscarried rainwater to round brick cisternswhere it was stored for drinking andcooking. All that remains today arethese brick cisterns to remind us of the construction village, which wasthe scene of so much human drama.

Over the years harsh environmental conditions onCockspur Island took their toll on the woodenbuildings that comprised the construction village.During a return trip to Fort Pukaski in 1861, thenConfederate General Robert E. Lee reported thatall of the temporary frame structures that he couldrecall on the island were gone. The remaining buildings survived the battle for Fort Pulaski in 1862only to be completely destroyed during a hurricanenineteen years later.
HM NumberHM8J1
Placed ByNational Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 6:45pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 510138 N 3543481
Decimal Degrees32.02743333, -80.89263333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 32° 1.646', W 80° 53.558'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds32° 1' 38.76" N, 80° 53' 33.48" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)912
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 30757 US-80, Tybee Island GA 31328, US
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