Thursday, October 21, 2010

Battle of Dunlap Hill (Dunlap's Farm) - Macon, Georgia

On July 30, 1864, things began to go very wrong for Union General George Stoneman's raid into Middle Georgia when he came up against Confederate forces at the Battle of Dunlap Hill.

Also called the Battle of Dunlap's Farm, the engagement was fought to defend Macon from Stoneman's 2000+ Federal raiders.

Stoneman's Raid had begun on July 27th when he left Decatur, Georgia, for a move down the railroad from Atlanta to Macon and beyond. The Atlanta Campaign was then underway and the city had not yet fallen, but by cutting the railroad, Stoneman hoped to hasten its surrender. He also had convinced a somewhat skeptical General William Tecumseh Sherman to allow him to attempt a daring raid to free the tens of thousands of Union prisoners of war being held at Camp Oglethorpe at Macon and Camp Sumter at Andersonville.

Sherman cautioned Stoneman, however, not to attempt the extended raid if it seemed Confederate forces ahead of him were too strong. Stoneman, however, rode his mounted force directly into the jaws of waiting Confederate forces.

As he moved south toward Macon, he did put men at work breaking the railroad - although the damage would be quickly repaired by Southern workers - but also spread his men out to inflict as much destruction as possible. Homes were invaded and looted, innocent civilians terrorized, livestock stolen or killed, barns destroyed and as much other damage possible inflicted.  By the time the Federals reached the northern outskirts of Macon, however, the Confederates were waiting.

Despite a strong attack against Southern positions at Dunlap Hill and around the Dunlap House (now in Ocmulgee National Monument), the Union troops were unable to break through Confederate lines to secure the railroad bridge they had targeted. To make matters worse, they were unable to bring their own artillery to bear on Southern cannon firing on them from nearby Fort Hawkins. Instead, they opened on civilian targets in the city itself with their two 3-inch rifled cannon.

Stoneman finally withdrew, but he had ridden into a situation from which he would not escape. He surrendered two days later after the Battle of Sunshine Church.  To learn more about the Battle of Dunlap Hill, please visit

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