Cannon at Fort Gaines
Spanish moss frames a
Confederate cannon, still in
place more than 140 years
after the end of the Civil War.
The Dill House at Fort Gaines
This house is said to have
been using money collected
by Elizabeth Dill while held
captive in the Seminole Wars. - Historic Sites of Fort Gaines, Georgia - Historic Sites of Fort Gaines, Georgia
Fort Gaines, Georgia - Queen City of the Chattahoochee
Reconstructed Blockhouse in Fort Gaines
Visitors to this historic Georgia city can explore the
history of the three forts that protected the town.
The Fort that Became a Town
During the spring of 1816, soldiers from the
4th U.S. Infantry Regiment landed flatboats
on the east side of the Chattahoochee River
just below the mouth of Cemochechobee
Creek. There, directed by Lieutenant Colonel
Duncan L. Clinch, they built a log stockade
atop the commanding bluff.

Named in honor of Major General Edmund P.
Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812, Fort
Gaines was briefly the southernmost post on
Georgia's Chattahoochee River frontier.

Over the next fifty years, three different forts
would stand here. The first Fort Gaines was
occupied by U.S. troops until the end of the
First Seminole War of 1817-1818. A second
fort was built using confiscated construction
materials in 1836 when Native American
warriors destroyed the town of Roanoke
upstream, igniting a conflict remembered
today as the Creek War of 1836. The third
and final fort was built by Confederate forces
that dug entrenchments and placed heavy
artillery on the bluff.

All three forts played important roles in the
early history and development of the town on
the Chattahoochee and remain important to
its identity today.

Over the years leading up to the Civil War,
Fort Gaines grew from a rough frontier
outpost to become a thriving community and
port city. People and cargo came to and from
the town on paddlewheel steamboats and
the Fort Gaines crossing provided vital
access to the lands across the river in South

Fort Gaines today is home to an impressive
array of historic sites and structures. One of
the earthen batteries of the Confederate fort
still exists, its cannon still in place despite
the passage of more than 240 years. Nearby
the community has built a one-third size
replica of one of the blockhouses of the 1816
fort and assembled an impressive array of
early structures to form a very nice little
Pioneer Village.

From these points of interest on the bluff,
historic sites and buildings spread out
through the community. The Fort Gaines
Pioneer Cemetery preserves the graves of
some of the area's earliest residents,
including John and Elizabeth Dill and the
second president of the University of Georgia.

Elizabeth Dill was captured by Creek and
Seminole Warriors on November 30, 1817, at
Scott's Massacre near present-day
Chattahoochee, Florida, and spent six
months in captivity. According to legend, she
made the most of her difficult experience by
collecting paper money thrown away by
Native American warriors following raids on
the Georgia frontier. She used this to build a
new life for herself when she settled in Fort
Gaines after the end of the First Seminole
Some of the money was supposedly used to
build the Dill House, an impressive landmark
in Fort Gaines that is believed to date from
the 1820s. It is just one of a number of other
historic homes and structures in the town
and is located across the street from the
impressive Sutton's Corner Museum.

Also of interest in Fort Gaines is the town's
historic New Park Cemetery, where a gazebo
stands atop a nearly 2,000 year old Native
American mound. In the northern edge of the
cemetery can be found the graves of nine
unknown Confederate soldiers. They died in
hospitals here while being treated for
wounds received at the
Battle of Olustee,

To learn more about the Fort Gaines area,
please follow the links below:
Clay County Courthouse
Union prisoners were once
held on the grounds of the
predecessor of today's Clay
County Courthouse.
The Days of 5 Cent Cokes
A restored Coca Cola sign on
the wall of the Sutton's Corner
Museum promotes 5 cent
Coke in bottles.
Burials of Two Civilizations
The gazebo at New Park
Cemetery in Fort Gaines
stands atop a Native
American burial mound that is
more than 1,000 years old.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.