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Park Holds Annual Holiday Candle Lantern Tour

Fort Pulaski National Monument

National Park News

Over the second weekend in December, the park sponsored a recreation of the Confederate "Nog Party" of 1861 held in Fort Pulaski. The Confederate garrison invited guests to share in the holiday of 1861 with the soldiers at the fort.

Visitors enjoyed the festivities, which included the Holliday Family Orchestra playing seasonal music in the visitor center, numerous volunteers dressed in period costumes, the flicker of candle lanterns and the warm glow of the fires in the fort mingled with cannon and musket firings throughout the fort.

Cider and other seasonal treats were served, with music performed by costumed re-enactors. Colonel Olmstead, commanding officer of Fort Pulaski, greeted visitors before they watched the Confederate troops fire a canon on the parade grounds.  Members of the 27th Regiment, South Carolina, 20th Regiment, South Carolina, 22nd Regiment, Georgia, 8th Regiment, Georgia, Burke Sharpshooters, Waynesboro, Georgia, and other local and RV volunteers did an outstanding job in bringing this part of the history of the fort to life.

Just a few months after the “Nog Party,” the fort changed hands. The Battle of Fort Pulaski in April 1862 marked a turning point in military history. It introduced the first significant use of rifled cannons in combat. Those accurate, long-range weapons shattered Fort Pulaski’s walls from over a mile away. After thirty hours of bombardment, the Confederate troops surrendered the fort. The battle surprised military strategists worldwide, signaling the end of masonry fortifications.

Fort Pulaski NM has been doing Candle Lantern Tours for 37 years. The first tour was held in the summer of 1973 following the showing of a Sunday night movie in the visitor center. From the late 1980s to the present, the park has hosted the yearly reenactment as a stand-alone program. Because of the increasing interest, the program is now held on Friday and Saturday nights.  Visitor participation has increased each year, with attendance at this year’s event increasing by about 15%.  Over 400 visitors and 64 VIPs participated in the two night event.


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