ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Fort Augusta Monument, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Fort Augusta Monument, Georgia
Fort Augusta Monument
A Celtic cross on the grounds of St. Paul's Episcopal
Church in Augusta notes the site of Fort Augusta,
built by James Oglethorpe in 1735.
Fort Augusta Monument
Built in 1735, Fort Augusta
was rebuilt as Fort Cornwallis
during the Revolutionary War.
It is a significant battlefield.
Augusta Riverwalk
The site of Fort Augusta and
Fort Cornwallis is one of the
numerous historic points of
interest along the Augusta
Fort Augusta Monument - Augusta, Georgia
Fort Augusta & Fort Cornwallis
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Historic Sites of Augusta, Georgia
Battlefield of the Revolution
A British cannon rests at the
base of the monument. Fort
Cornwallis was captured in
1781 by Andrew Pickens and
"Light Horse Harry" Lee.
St. Paul's Churchyard
The monument stands on the
rear grounds of St. Paul's
Episcopal Church, which was
founded while the fort still
The building of Fort Augusta by General
James Oglethorpe marked the beginning of
today's modern city of Augusta, Georgia.

The site is marked by a monument in the
form of a Celtic cross on the grounds of St.
Paul's Church. The churchyard also was the
site of Fort Cornwallis, an important British
post of the American Revolution.

It was the Indian trade that first brought the
English to the falls of the Savannah River.
Early traders crossed the river here making
their way from Charleston to do business
with a variety of Indian nations including the
Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw.

It did not take long for fur traders Kennedy
O'Brien and Roger de Lacy to pick the site of
modern Augusta for the establishment of a
trading post. The little complex served the
Indians of nearby Savannah Town, while also
providing a place to stop and rest for traders
making their way deeper into the Southeast.

General James Oglethorpe was then the
governor of the new colony of Georgia and
was quick to recognize the natural head of
navigation on the Savannah River as a point
of great strategic importance. He initiated the
construction of Fort Augusta in 1735.

The building of the original fort was a slow
process and took until 1739 to complete. In
that year Oglethorpe convened a meeting at
the post with key chiefs of the Cherokee and
Chickasaw Nations. The Native American
leaders were disturbed over a small pox
outbreak that had developed in their towns.
The negotiations prevented war.

The original St. Paul's Church was built in
1750 "under the curtain of the fort." The
description apparently indicated the church
was located close outside the walls but
between two of the bastions of Fort Augusta.

A major peace conference was held at Fort
Augusta in 1763 to assure a cessation of
hostilities. The eleven year long French and
Indian War ended that year and leaders of
the Cherokee, Creek, Catawba, Chickasaw
and Choctaw Nations made the journey to
Augusta to reach a peace agreement.

With the French defeated and England now
in control of the former Spanish colony of
Florida, the need for a permanent fort at
Augusta rapidly diminished. The British
garrison was withdrawn in 1767.

Fort Augusta by that point was in poor
condition and of little military value. The site
was abandoned and the workable cannon
were removed. One original gun, thought to
have been part of Oglethorpe's original
armament of the fort, remains at the site
today and can be seen at the base of the Fort
Augusta Monument.

The original St. Paul's Church had been
used by refugees during the French and
Indian War and, like the fort that sheltered it,
deteriorated rapidly. It was replaced by 1765
with a new structure.

In 1779, as the American Revolution entered
its most brutal stages, British troops arrived
to occupy Augusta. The occupation did not
last long. Patriot forces drove out the British
after just a couple of weeks and then took
possession of the site.
St. Paul's Church was taken for use as a
hospital and rough barracks were built
nearby, but the site was not further fortified by
the American forces. The British, however,
were not yet done with Augusta.

A Loyalist force came back in 1780 under
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Brown and
seized the city. The famed Patriot colonel
Elijah Clark tried to retake the city, but failed
in a bloody battle. Legend holds that ten of
his men, prisoners captured during the
battle, were hanged by Brown.

1780 marked the construction of a second
fort at the site. Named Fort Cornwallis, for
Lord Cornwallis who then commanded
British forces in the South, it was a strong

The Americans decided to make another
attempt on Augusta early the next year. The
siege began on April 16, 1781, when Patriot
militia arrived outside the town and built a
fortified camp. The British believed their
numbers were greater than they really were
and did not risk an attack.

The famed American commanders General
Andrew Pickens, Colonel "Light Horse Harry"
Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) and Colonel
Elijah Clark arrived with additional troops in
May and the
Siege of Augusta intensified.

Fort Cornwallis fell on June 5, 1781, after the
Americans built a 30-foot high tower and
hauled a cannon to its top. The gun was
used to blast the interior of the fort. Colonel
Brown tried to break out but failed. Left with
no other choice than to surrender or have his
walls stormed by American troops, he gave

The Fort Augusta Monument is on the
grounds of St. Paul Church at 605 Reynolds
Street in Augusta, Georgia. It also can be
accessed from the Riverwalk.