Fort Hawkins, Geogia
The old fort was an important defensive
point on the Georgia frontier for thirteen
years. It was built in 1806.
Site of Fort Hawkins
The hilltop where the old fort once
stood has a bright future as a heritage
|Fort Hawkins Archaeological Park
A reconstructed blockhouse stands on the site of the
historic fort in Macon, Georgia. Fort Hawkins was an
important U.S. Army post in 1806 - 1819.
Macon's Historic Frontier Fort
Fort Hawkins Archaeological Park is a
developing heritage destination in Macon,
Located atop a high hill that looks out over
the adjacent Ocmulgee National Monument
and the historic downtown area of Macon, the
park preserves the site and archaeological
remains of Fort Hawkins, an important
frontier bastion of the early 19th century.
Named for U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin
Hawkins, the fort was established by order of
President Thomas Jefferson.
The president, who in 1803 negotiated the
vast Louisiana Purchase, advocated a policy
of "civilizing" the Indians then living east of
the Mississippi River. Jefferson believed that
converting the Creeks and other Indian
nations from their traditional ways to agrarian
lifestyles would assure the national security
of the United States while also opening vast
tracts of hunting land to white settlement.
As part of the implementation of this policy,
his administration negotiated the Treaty of
Washington with the Creek Nation in 1805.
The document provided not only for the
building of the Federal Road through Creek
lands, but also the construction of a military
post in the Nation. This post became Fort
Construction of the fort began in February of
1806 with the backbreaking labor being
carried out by soldiers from the 2nd U.S.
Infantry Regiment. Work on the fort was still
underway in the spring of 1807 when former
Vice President Aaron Burr may have been
incarcerated there for a short time after being
charged with treason. He was acquitted later
The work of building and improving the fort
continued for years. Much stronger and more
permanent in design than many of the
frontier forts of its era, Fort Hawkins was a
powerful structure with solid walls, barracks,
a hospital, storage buildings, blockhouses,
quarters for officers and more. Its strength
likely had much to do with the fact that it never
faced serious attack during the War of 1812
and related Creek War of 1813-1814.
U.S. regulars and Georgia militia forces did
occupy the fort during those wars and it
served as an important logistical base for
operations against both the British and the
Red Stick Creeks. The ends of the wars led
to a shifting of the frontier, due largely to the
massive land cession exacted upon the
Creek Nation at the Treaty of Fort Jackson.
While the focus of the frontier quickly shifted
to Fort Gaines on the lower Chattahoochee
River and Fort Scott on the lower Flint, Fort
Hawkins continued to serve an important role
as a supply depot. It was a staging point for
U.S. and militia troops during the First
Seminole War of 1817-1818.
The last soldiers left the fort in 1819, but
supplies continued to be housed there for a
Some of the buildings of the fort continued to
stand for years. An 1828 newspaper article in
the Macon Telegraph mentioned that the
"block house, barracks, store-houses, &c.
are still standing and tenanted by industrious
families." By that time the site was already
being described as "romantic to the extreme."
Fort Hawkins did play a role in the Civil War.
The Southeast Blockhouse was still in fair
condition and was used as a spotting station
during the Battle of Dunlap Hill and Battle of
Blockhouse of Fort Hawkins
The last original blockhouse of the fort
was dismantled in 1883. This one was
reconstructed during the 20th century
and is open on weekends.
Fort Hawkins stood on a high hill
overlooking the ancient mounds of
today's Ocmulgee National Monument.
Both of these encounters took place as
Sherman was operating around Atlanta and
were demonstrations against Macon. Both
were Confederate victories. A Confederate
battery fired from the fort grounds during the
The last standing original blockhouse of the
fort was dismantled and removed in 1883.
The blockhouse seen at the site today is a
reconstruction built during the 20th century.
Archaeological work at the site in 2005-2007
by the LAMAR Institute has revealed a wealth
of information about both the history and
archaeology of the site. Please click here to
read Daniel T. Elliott's outstanding report on
The site of Fort Hawkins is preserved today
and can be found at the intersection of Emery
Highway and Maynard Street in Macon,
Georgia. It is located just across Emery from
Ocmulgee National Monument.
The site is now open on weekends and for
special events. Hours are Saturday from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4
p.m. Even when the park is closed the
reconstructed blockhouse can be easily
viewed from the street.
There are plans for further development of
Fort Hawkins in the future. Please click here
to learn more about the park.
|Some Photos by Ashley Pollette
|Copyright 2017 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: August 9, 2017
(Some contents Copyright 2012)
Battle of Dunlap Hill
Confederate cannon fired from Fort
Hawkins during this Civil War battle.
Earthwork fortifications can be seen at
nearby Ocmulgee National Monument.
Creek War of 1813-1814