ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Battle of Walnut Creek in Macon, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Battle of Walnut Creek in Macon, Georgia
Battle of Walnut Creek
Confederate earthworks can still be seen on
Dunlap's Hill at Ocmulgee National Monument in
Macon, Georgia.
Battle of Walnut Creek
The wide floodplain of Walnut
Creek provided an open field
of fire for the defenders along
much of the Confederate line.
Fort Hawkins
A Confederate officer climbed
into the tower atop one of the
old blockhouses to direct
artillery fire during the battle.
Dunlap House
The original house is now
used by Ocmulgee National
Monument park staff. Federal
troops threw up a temporary
breastwork in the yard.
Battle of Walnut Creek - Macon, Georgia
Second Battle of Dunlap Farm
Fort at Dunlap's Farm
Confederate cannon fired
from this fort within site of the
Dunlap House during the
Battle of Walnut Creek. It is
now part of Ocmulgee
National Monument.
The Battle of Walnut Creek, known by several
different names including Second Dunlap's
Hill or Second Dunlap Farm, was fought on
November 20, 1864, on the outskirts of
Macon, Georgia.

A fairly large although relatively bloodless
encounter, it was an important part of the
strategy of Sherman's March to the Sea. By
demonstrating against Macon, Union
General Judson Kiilpatrick and his cavalry
were able to pin down a significant number
of Confederate troops in the city.

Unable and unwilling to leave the important
industrial city undefended, Southern
commanders were prevented from moving
aggressively against General William
Tecumseh Sherman's main columns. This
prevented them from attacking and
harassing his main columns during the early
stages of the March to the Sea when his
units were strung out and his supply trains
were vulnerable.

The Battle of Walnut Creek developed when
Kilpatrick was ordered to sweep in close to
Macon to screen the movements of
Sherman's right column, which was starting
its turn to the east after appearing to threaten
Macon. Blowing up the jail in nearby Clinton
and tearing up railroad track as he advanced,
Kilpatrick moved up on the defenses of

His attack came via the same route as that
taken by General George Stoneman four
months earlier at the Battle of Dunlap's Hill.
And the result was about the same.

As he advanced down the Clinton Road,
Kilpatrick found that Macon had been heavily
fortified since Stoneman's Raid. Artillery and
troops were positioned on Fort Hill at old Fort
Hawkins and Confederates had used slave
labor to surround Macon with trenches and
strong earthwork forts.

Attacking across Walnut Creek, Union troops
drove Confederate defenders off Dunlap's
Hill, now part of the Ocmulgee National
Monument. Two Confederate cannon were
overrun and temporarily captured. Swinging
their own guns into action, the Federals
began to fire away on nearby Fort Hawkins.

General Howell Cobb, who commanded the
Confederates in Macon, was blessed with an
abundance of artillery with which to return
fire. Although a shortage of horses and
mules prevented him from moving some of
his guns around, Cobb had been left in
charge of the Reserve Artillery of the Army of
Tennessee when General John Bell Hood
took that proud force off on his invasion of

Bringing at least nine cannon into action,
some of them firing from the heights at Fort
Hawkins, Cobb's forces pounded the
Federals on Dunlap's Hill.

Confederate reinforcements poured to the
front. As fighting swirled around Dunlap's
Hill, so named because it was part of the
Dunlap Farm and the location of the Dunlap
house, Kilpatrick launched a second attack
against the Central of Georgia railroad trestle
over Walnut Creek. This advance was quickly
blunted by Confederate defenders.
As a Confederate counterattack retook the
guns on the crest of Dunlap's Hill, Kilpatrick
decided that he had accomplished his
mission and began to fall back. Confederate
cavalry under General Joseph "Fighting Joe"
Wheeler was now on the field and shadowed
the Union withdrawal.

The Federals fell back to
Griswoldville, where
they battled with Wheeler's men the next day
and where the tragic
Battle of Griswoldville
took  place two days later.

Casualties in the Battle of Walnut Creek were
surprisingly light considering the heavy
cannon firing that took place. Confederate
troops reported 1 killed and 2 wounded,
while the Federals listed 9 wounded.

A portion of the battlefield is preserved today
Ocmulgee National Monument. Although
the park is primarily geared around the
interpretation of its significant prehistoric
mounds, a walking trail leads to a preserved
Confederate fort on Dunlap's Hill. The yards
of the Dunlap House, now the residence of
the park superintendent, can be seen from
both the fort and the trail leading to the
nearby Dunlap Mound. This was the area
where Kilpatrick's men overran and captured
two Confederate cannon. A parking area
along the park's main road provides a scenic
view of the wetlands of Walnut Creek.

The site of nearby
Fort Hawkins, where
Confederate artillery fired during the battle, is
also preserved and is currently under
development as a historic site.

Both Ocmulgee National Monument and Fort
Hawkins can be accessed from U.S.
Highway 80 East in Macon. The staff at the
national monument visitor center can provide
more information on the battles and direct
you to the trail leading to the earthworks.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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