Fort Gaines began its history as a military post deep in the territory of the Creek Nation.
In the spring of 1816, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan L. Clinch moved down the Chattahoochee River from Fort Mitchell, Alabama, with a battalion of the 4th U.S. Infantry Regiment. His orders were to erect a new fort on the dividing line between U.S. territory and that of the Creek Nation as defined by the recent Treaty of Fort Jackson.
Clinch selected a high bluff on the east side of the river at its confluence with Cemochechoba Creek. There he and his men quickly built a rectangular log stockade with blockhouses on two diagonal corners. The soldiers had been accompanied by Major General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812, on their trip down the Chattahoochee so they named the fort in his honor.
Fort Gaines was briefly the southernmost post on Georgia's western frontier, but in May of 1816 Clinch and most of his men continued down the river to its confluence with the Flint where they built Camp Crawford (later Fort Scott).
Fort Gaines served a important role during the First Seminole War of 1817-1818. Although the fort itself never came under attack, it was an important supply point and rendezvous for soldiers moving south through Georgia to the Florida frontier.
The post was occupied for a brief time after the war before all troops in the area were consolidated at Fort Scott in around 1819. It then became the focal point for settlers who flooded into the area once the war had subsided. A second fort was built at Fort Gaines during the Creek War of 1836 and a third was erected by Confederate forces during the Civil War. Markers, a reconstructed blockhouse, and one of the surviving batteries of the Confederate fort remain today to remind visitors of the rich military history of the community.
To learn more about the forts of Fort Gaines, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortgaines3.