War of 1812 & Seminole Wars
Site of Fort Early
Originally built during the War of 1812 and named for
Governor Peter Early of Georgia, Fort Early was an
important post of the early 19th century.
Fort Early Monument
The historic fort was a vital defense
and supply post on the Flint River
during the early years of the 19th
century.
Fort Early in Georgia
No trace remains of the fort today, but
a commemorative monument marks
the site.
Historical Marker
The road leading to the fort site is
marked by a historical marker
on
nearby GA-300.
FORT EARLY MONUMENT
Crisp County, Georgia
Frontier Forts of Georgia
Fort Early was one of a string of
frontier forts built in Georgia during
the early 19th century. Others
included Fort Hughes, Fort Hawkins,
Fort Scott and Fort Gaines (seen
here).
Copyright 2017 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update:
August 11, 2017

(Some material Copyright 2011)
Named for Governor Peter Early, Fort Early
was an important military post of the early
19th century. The site is marked by a stone
monument near Cordele, Georgia.

In 1814, as part of their grand strategy for the
War of 1812, the British planned a major
armed invasion of the southern United States
via the Gulf Coast. It was to be a two-pronged
campaign.

An advance force would come ashore on the
Apalachicola River and at Pensacola in
Florida then move against Fort Bowyer at the
mouth of Mobile Bay. Having established a
foothold, the British would then take New
Orleans and capture the mouth of the
Mississippi, while a second column invaded
Georgia.

The first stages of this campaign went well.
British troops landed at the mouth of the
Apalachicola River and established a fort at
Prospect Bluff about thirty miles upstream
from its mouth. Initially called the
British Post
on the Apalachicola, it became a rallying
point for escaped slaves from Georgia and
the Carolinas, as well as refugee Red Stick
Creeks that fled into Florida after the Battle of
Horseshoe Bend. Seminole Indians from
Florida also flooded to the fort.

Throughout the summer and fall of 1814, the
British distributed large quantities of military
supplies to their new allies at the fort on the
Apalachicola, while also forming them into a
force of trained Colonial Marines.

News of these activities soon began to drift
north into Georgia where Colonel Benjamin
Hawkins, a Revolutionary War veteran and
the U.S. Agent for Indian Affairs, dutifully
forwarded them to military authorities. As the
seriousness of the situation became more
apparent, plans were laid for a campaign
against the British Post on the Apalachicola.

A force of Georgia Militia was ordered to the
Flint River near its confluence with Cedar
Creek. Led by Brigadier General David
Blackshear, the men entrenched themselves
on high ground overlooking the river. They
named their new post in honor of Governor
Peter Early of Georgia, calling it Fort Early.

The planned campaign did not materialize as
expected. The sudden threat posed by the
British to New Orleans forced the rapid
reinforcement of that point and repositioning
of troops in Georgia.  Blackshear and his
men withdrew from Fort Early.

Although Colonel Hawkins led a large force
of U.S.-allied Lower Creeks down the
Chattahoochee to the vicinity of today's Lake
Seminole, he arrived only to learn that the
War of 1812 was over. No battle took place.

Despite the withdrawal of the British from the
borderlands, tensions with the Red Sticks
and Seminoles continued to increase. In
1817 these erupted into all out war when
U.S. troops attacked the village of Fowltown
in what is now Decatur County. The Indians
retaliated by attacking an army boat on the
Apalachicola and killing 44 men, women and
children.
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Fort Early was reoccupied by troops during
this period and a larger stockade was built to
replace Blackshear's earlier defenses.

The fort was an important supply depot and
defensive point for the duration of the First
Seminole War (1817-1818). Major General
Andrew Jackson stopped at Fort Early in
February of 1818 as he marched south to
relieve Fort Scott on the lower Flint. Supply
boats also carried loads of flour, ammunition
and other provisions down the river from Fort
Early to supply the army in the field.

The fort was evacuated after the war and the
site was gradually reclaimed by the forest.
Interest in the site's significance remained
strong in the community over the years,
however, and it was the focus of an early
preservation effort.

The Fort Early Chapter of the Daughters of
the American Revolution obtained ownership
of 4.75 acres containing the fort site and in
1916 placed a beautiful monument there.

Although no visible traces remain of the
original Fort Early, the five ton monument has
noted the importance of the site for 95 years.
It is easy to reach from GA 300 and is an
appropriate place to visit as part of the
nation's observance of the 200th anniversary
of the War of 1812. The site has no facilities
other than the monument, but is free to visit.

To reach the Fort Early Monument from
Cordele, head south from I-75 on GA 300 for
13.4 miles and turn right on Lakeshore Drive.
The monument will be one mile ahead on
your right.  

From Albany, Take GA 300 north through
Warwick for 10.6 miles, left on Lakeshore
Drive for one mile to the monument.
FORTS IN THE SOUTH