Historic Markers Across Georgia

Macon Defensive Fortifications

Marker ID:  
Location: 1301 Riverside Drive, Macon, GA
County: Bibb
Coordinates: N 32° 51.102    W 083° 38.184
  32.8517    -83.6364
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


In the spring of 1865, Union Major General James Wilson beginning with approximately 14,000 cavalrymen rode through Alabama captured Columbus, Georgia, then quickly continued east toward Macon. The Federals were concerned about the "very substantial character" of Macon's defensive fortifications. On April 20, 1865, under a white flag of truce and with news of a general armistice agreement to end the war, representatives of General Cobb met General Wilson's advance units west of the city on the Columbus Road. But the Federals, riding hard and out of direct communications with either Wilson or Major General William T. Sherman in North Carolina, did not yet know the main Confederate army there had agreed to a 48-hour truce for the purpose of arranging the final surrender of all Confederates in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. The Federals refused to accept Cobb's information, and swept forward through Macon's western fortifications. Cobb ordered his reserves to stand down, and Wilson's advance occupied Macon without a significant fight. Wilson noted, "When I reached there two hours and a half later, [Macon] was as quiet as a country village that had never heard a harsher tone than a flute note." Landscape architect Calvert Vaux, co-designer of Central Park in New York City and of the White House grounds in Washington, DC, carefully preserved this earthwork, incorporating it into his master plan for Riverside Cemetery in 1887. Many Confederate veterans are buried throughout the cemetery. Most of Macon's abandoned fortifications were leveled to make way for homes and businesses. Two other area earthworks remain besides the one here. One is behind the Dunlap Farm House, within Ocmulgee National Monument. The other is near Jackson Springs Park, almost directly across the Ocmulgee River.