The Battle of Dunlap Farm (Also known as The Battle of Dunlap Hill), was a historic battle of the Civil War. The battle took place on July 30th, 1864 with General George H. Stoneman leading the Union forces on an attack against Confederate controlled Macon, Georgia. The battle is well known to be the battle that started the end of Stoneman’s raid within Georgia. The Confederate victory here allowed Confederate forces to corner Stoneman’s forces at the Battle of Sunshine Church and ultimately cause Stoneman to surrender. Today, a historical marker stands to honor the lives lost during the battle. Key buildings from the battle still stand and can be visited today.
During the summer of 1864, Union General George H. Stoneman was able to convince a skeptical Major General William Tecumseh Sherman to let him lead a cavalry raid against Camp Oglethorpe in Macon and Camp Sumter in Andersonville in order to free Union prisoners of war. Sherman, however, warned Stoneman to only undergo his mission if the odds favored the Union. Stoneman left Decatur, Georgia on July 27 with a force of 2,104 men and two pieces of artillery. Stoneman began his raid by sending his men down a railroad from Atlanta to Macon. He ordered his forces to inflict as much damage as possible, terrorizing the local civilians. Stoneman’s men tore up the railroad as they followed it, however the railroad would eventually be repaired by the Confederates.
As Stoneman’s forces started approaching closer to Macon, small skirmishes with Confederates grew and intensified. By the time Stoneman’s force had reached the outskirts of Macon, Confederate forces had gathered and waited for Stoneman’s attack. Stoneman’s forces ran into heavy fire at Clinton Road. Despite this, the Union was able to push the Confederates back and the Confederates fell back closer to the city. Confederate artillery was stationed at Fort Hawkins, an old U.S. fort built in 1806 by President Thomas Jefferson and Indian Agent Col. Benjamin Hawkins.
At this point in time, it was the Western frontier with a wilderness and it overlooked the ancient Old Fields, an Indian Mound held sacred by the Muskogee Creek nation, the Ocmulgee River, Lower Creek Pathway that became the Federal Road that connects Washington D.C. to Mobile and New Orleans, and it became the future site of the city of Macon 17 years later. Fort Hawkins proved to be a useful spot for the Confederates as it allowed them to rain heavy fire down on Stoneman’s forces. To combat this, Stoneman ordered Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Smith’s 24th Indiana Battery to use its 3 inch rifle guns to open fire on active civilian targets within the city. Despite Stoneman’s efforts, the Union was unable to break the Confederate line of defense to capture the city. Heavy casualties caused Stoneman to order his forces to retreat, ending the Battle of Dunlap Farm.
After Stoneman’s defeat, his forces were cornered the next day at the Battle of Sunshine Church and Stoneman was forced to surrender. This battle was a significant Confederate victory during the Civil War and ended Stoneman’s raid in Georgia. An unknown number of casualties were inflicted on both sides.
Today, a historical marker erected in 1954 honors the lives lost during the battle. It is located within Ocmulgee National Park near the Ocmulgee National Monument. A lot of the battle can be explored within the park itself, as well. The park is also home to the Dunlap Farm House where much of the fighting took place. Fort Hawkins also still stands today.