Named for General Casimer Pulaski, the Polish hero who was mortally wounded at the siege of Savannah, 1779, Fort Pulaski was built in accordance with plans by General Simon Bernard, formerly chief engineer under Napoleon. Begun in 1829 and completed in 1847, the Fort was constructed principally under Lt. J. F. K. Mansfield. There Lt. Robert E. Lee saw his first service after graduation from West Point.
Fort Pulaski was never garrisoned until its seizure by Georgia troops in January, 1861, to prevent occupation by Federal forces. On April 10, 1862, Federal batteries on Tybee Island commenced the bombardment of Fort Pulaski. After 30 hours of bombardment as a result of which the walls were breached and its guns disabled, Col. Charles H. Olmstead surrendered the Fort. The bombardment marked the first effective use of rifled cannon against a masonry fortification and constituted an epoch in military history.
Abandoned by 1885, Fort Pulaski became a National Monument in 1924 and was placed under the National Park Service in 1933.