If you are trying to decide What To Do in Savannah to celebrate Independence Day, why not visit one of the many monuments that line the city’s Squares, Parks and Streets. Savannah’s Historic District is home to over 45 monuments, all built to commemorate the historical figures and battles that played a key role in the city’s history and tradition.
In honor of America’s Independence, we’ve compiled a list of Savannah’s Best Fourth of July Monuments that tell the story of this how this Quintessential Southern City survived the American Revolution.
1.) The Nathanael Greene Monument
The Nathanael Greene Monument, located in Johnson Square, memorializes the American Revolutionary War Hero, Nathanael Greene, who served as second only to George Washington in the War. This 50-foot tall, white-marble marker was dedicated in 1825 by the Marquis de Lafayette during his triumphant visit to Savannah. Five years later, a well known architect, known as William Strickland, completed the top of the monument with a pointed granite shaft.
Local Savannah Residents were disappointed with the simplicity of the monument, feeling such a significant hero should have a more grand memorial. Therefore, two bronze plaques were added in 1886 to both sides of the statue in order to satisfy the complaints.
2.) Pulaski Monument
Originally carved in Italy, then shipped to America in pieces, the 55 foot tall Pulaski Monument, was assembled in 1854 inMonterey Square and currently stands adjacent to the famous Mercer House in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District. The memorial was erected in honor of General Count Casimir Pulaski, who served with General George Washington in Brandywine and Germantown and then later fought with the Pulaski Legion in the Siege of Savannah in 1779. Pulaski was mortally wounded in this battle.
The monument was originally intended to,serve as a memorial to both General Pulaski and General Greene, and it wasn’t until 1852 that the money was raised to fund the entire monument to be dedicated strictly to General Pulaski. The Savannah Memorial is the First Statue in the United States dedicated to Pulaski.
3.) The Jasper Monument
The Jasper Monument, located in Madison Square, was erected in 1888 to memorialize Sergeant William Jasper of the Second South Carolina Regiment, who was also killed at the Siege of Savannah in October of 1779.
The monument is comprised of a bronze statue of Jasper, holding a flag in hand atop of a granite structure. The flag in the Jasper Monument is significant because it represents how Sergeant Jasper was “mortally wounded in battle while rescuing his regimental flag from a dying lieutenant.” Eight counties and seven cities and towns across the nation have been named for this famed Revolutionary War hero, including Jasper County in Georgia.
4.) Washington Guns
President George Washington presented two cannons to the Chatham Artillery in 1791, in order to signify the victory of the Battle of Yorktown and the end of the Revolutionary War.
Washington’s close friend, Nathanael Greene had recently died and been buried in Savannah, and it is believed that Washington presented the cannons to the Chatham Artillery for ensuring Greene received a proper burial ceremony. The cannons have been relocated several times, but have not found their home next to City Hall on Bay Street.
5.) Hussar Memorial
Located in Emmet Park, The Hussar Memorial was erected in 1960, and features a cannon mounted on top of a cement block. The cannon is an actual artifact from the Siege of Savannah in 1779, where a Ranger Unit, known as the Georgia Hussars, were stationed to patrol and defend the colony of Georgia. The Hussars are currently still an active unit in the Georgia Army National Guard.
6.) The Button Gwinnett Monument
One of Savannah’s most ambiguous markers is also thought to be the only monument ever dedicated to the historical figure, Button Gwinnett. Erected in 1964 in Savannah’s Colonial Park Cematary, the monument was erected as a tribute to one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett was also elected to the Continental Congress and helped to write the Georgia State Constitution in 1777.
As one of the most obscure of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Button Gwinnett’s signature proves to be one of the most valuable and desired signatures in the world.