The Three Forts of Fort Gaines - Fort Gaines, Georgia
The Three Forts of Fort Gaines - Fort Gaines, Georgia
Cannon at Fort Gaines
Spanish moss frames a
Confederate cannon, still in
place more than 140 years
after the end of the Civil War.
Confederate Cannon
Three cannon were placed at
Fort Gaines during the Civil
War to defend against any
Union attack.
Fort Gaines, Georgia - The Three Forts of Fort Gaines
Reconstructed Blockhouse in Fort Gaines
Visitors to this historic Georgia city can explore the
history of the three forts that protected the town.
Defenses on the Chattahoochee
The modern community of Fort Gaines was
the location of three different forts during the
19th century.

The first of these, Fort Gaines, was built in
the spring of 1815 by troops from the 4th U.S.
Infantry Regiment. A square stockade with
blockhouses on two diagonal corners, the
fort was considered sufficient to house two
companies of men.

The original commander of the fort was
Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Lamont Clinch, a
noteworthy officer of the 19th century. The
post itself was named for General Edmund
P. Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812 and
subordinate to General Andrew Jackson in
the U.S. Army's Department of the South.

The construction of the fort on lands only
recently forced from the Creeks at the Treaty
of Fort Jackson prompted outrage in some
quarters of the nation and a war party from
the village of Fowltown (near present-day
Bainbridge, Georgia) swept down on Fort
Gaines and abducted two soldiers and a
herd of beef cattle.

This action prompted a campaign down the
Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers by
Clinch and his men and resulted in the
destruction of the so-called
"Negro Fort" on
the Apalachicola on July 27, 1816.

For the rest of 1816 and most of 1817, Fort
Gaines was held by only a small detachment
of men under Captain John N. McIntosh. The
fort was reinforced by Georgia militia during
the First Seminole War of 1817-1818, but
was never seriously threatened with attack.

The importance of the first Fort Gaines
rapidly diminished after 1818 and it is
mentioned only occasionally in early records.
Its brief occupation, however, was sufficient
to allow the planting of a settlement in the
area that continues to thrive to this day.

The second Fort Gaines was built in 1836
when news came down the Chattahoochee
of a Creek raid on the town of Roanoke,
Georgia. The attack sparked a conflict
remembered today as the Creek War of 1836.

The original fort had rotted away by this point,
so citizens of the community impressed
construction materials and built a new fort to
protect the town. The second fort was
occupied by units of the Georgia militia for
much of 1836, but once again no effort was
made by Native Americans to attack the
community. The war ended with the forced
migration of the Creek Nation on the Trail of
Tears and the second fort was broken apart
and the materials used on buildings in the

The third and final fort at Fort Gaines was
built by Confederate troops in 1863. One of a
series of installations constructed to defend
the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers
from Union attack, the fort consisted of two
earthen gun emplacements on top of the
bluff, a third emplacement at water level
below, connecting trenches, magazines and
other defenses.
The fort never came under attack and Fort
Gaines' primary importance during the war
years was as a supply and hospital center. A
number of wounded men were brought to the
community following the
Battle of Olustee,
Florida, in 1864. At least nine died and are
buried at
New Park Cemetery.

The Confederate fort at Fort Gaines is unique
among similar installations in that one of its
cannon has remained in place for more than
140 years. The gun can still be seen in one
of the well-preserved earthworks on the bluff.
Historical markers at the site tell the story of
both the Confederate and 1836 fortifications.

A short distance away, the community has
built a one-third scale reproduction of one of
the blockhouses of the original fort. A marker
and interpretive display adjacent to the
structure provide much information on the
history of the first fort and early years of Fort

Although the community's military history
ended more nearly a century and a half ago,
its memory remains an important part of daily
life in Fort Gaines. The community takes
great pride in its role as the oldest American
settlement in the Chattahoochee Valley and
its unique collection of early structures is
among the most impressive in Georgia.

The blockhouse and Confederate fort are
open during daylight hours and are located
on Bluff Street in Fort Gaines. The marker for
the 1836 fort is adjacent to the preserved
Confederate battery.
1836 Fort at Fort Gaines
The town's citizens seized
building materials to build a
fort in 1836 at the outbreak of
the Creek War
Reconstructed Blockhouse
A one-third scale reproduction
of a blockhouse from the
1815 fort stands on the bluff
at Fort Gaines.
Chattahoochee River
This is the Chattahoochee
River as seen from the old fort
site on the bluff at Fort Gaines.
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Copyright 2011 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: March 8, 2013
Southwest Georgia Historic Sites