Field Gun at Fort Tyler
The Confederate fort was armed
with three cannon. It held out for 8
hours under direct attack by Union
Battle of West Point, Georgia
The engagement was fought for
control of an important bridge over
the Chattahoochee River. More than
3,000 Union troops battled for hours
against less than 265 Confederates.
Battle of West Point, Georgia
The Battle of West Point, Georgia
The last general of either side to be killed during
the Civil War fell defending Fort Tyler during the
Battle of West Point, Georgia.
One of the last Civil War Battles
The Battle of West Point, Georgia, took place
on April 16. 1865, one week after Gen. Robert
E. Lee surrendered in Virginia.

A key feature of the battlefield is Fort Tyler, the
earthwork fort where Confederate forces
made their last stand. It has been beautifully
restored and is open daily.

During the final weeks of the Civil War, Union
General James Wilson swept west across
Alabama for the key bridges over the
Chattahoochee RIver at
Columbus and West
Point, Georgia.

Dividing his army into two columns, Wilson
moved with the main body for the important
industrial city of Columbus, while Colonel
Oscar H. LaGrange moved with a second
force to take the important bridge at West
Point, a community on the Alabama line north
of Columbus.

With a command of around 3,750 men from
the 2nd and 4th Indiana, 1st Wisconsin and
7th Kentucky Cavalries and the 18th Indiana
Battery, a unit of light artillery, LaGrange
moved north from Auburn. He reached West
Point on the morning of April 16, 1865, an
Easter Sunday.

In anticipation of the attack, Confederate
Brigadier General Robert C. Tyler had taken
up a position in a square earthwork fort on a
high hill overlooking the town with a force of
between 120-265 men (sources vary).
Named in the general's honor,
Fort Tyler was
armed with three pieces of artillery, two field
guns and a 32-pounder. Other Confederate
troops were positioned on the heights east of
the Chattahoochee to protect the bridge. Most
of Tyler's force was made up of soldiers on
medical leave, militia and volunteers.

Assessing the situation, LaGrange moved
with the 4th Indiana around the fort and took
the Chattahoochee River bridge, while the
2nd Indiana, 1st Wisconsin and 7th Kentucky
were ordered to invest the fort. The 18th
Indiana Battery unlimbered on a nearby hill
and opened fire on Fort Tyler.

Tyler returned fire with his artillery, sending
32-pound cannonballs crashing toward the
bridge. One of these killed LaGrange's horse
and stunned the colonel. A Union cannon
shot, meanwhile, cut the halyard on the flag-
staff in Fort Tyler. A 17-year-old sergeant
named Charlie McNeill climbed the pole,
nailed the flag back in place and waved a
salute to the Union gunners before safely
sliding back down the pole to a roar of Rebel
yells from Tyler and his men.

Fort Tyler held out defiantly for hours. One by
one its cannon were dismounted by Union
fire and the Federal dismounted cavalrymen
closed in on the ramparts. Realizing that the
tide of the battle was turning against him,
General Tyler fully exposed himself before
the wall of the fort walking in clear view of the
enemy soldiers.
He was quickly shot down and according to
one eyewitness, never moved again. Tyler
was the last general of either side killed
during the war and kept his promise that he
would either win the battle or die in the effort.

Fort Tyler surrendered at about 6 p.m., its
garrison trapped and running low on
ammunition. The battle, one of the last of the
war, had cost the Confederates 19 killed and
28 wounded. The Union force lost 7 killed
and 29 wounded.

Wilson attacked Columbus with the main
body on the same day. The
Battle of
Columbus raged into the night, but that city
eventually fell as well. Although there were
later fights in Georgia, Texas, Alabama and
Florida, and Columbus were the last
significant engagements of the Civil War.

From West Point the Federals moved on to
nearby LaGrange, where they would
encounter the town's remarkable all-female
militia company, the Nancy Harts.

The dead from the Battle of West Point are
buried at
Fort Tyler Cemetery on U.S. 29
North in West Point.
Fort Tyler itself has been
reconstructed on 6th avenue, 1/2 block north
of 10th Street, near downtown West Point.

There is no charge to visit either the fort or
the cemetery.
Grave of General Tyler
The last general killed in the Civil
War is buried by his friend, Captain
C. Gonzalez of Florida. Tyler was
from Tennessee and lost a leg at
Missionary Ridge.
32-Pounder at Fort Tyler
A shot from Fort Tyler's big gun
killed Union Col. O.H. LaGrange's
horse and stunned the colonel.
West Point, Georgia
Copyright 2011 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: April 13, 2015
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