Battle of West Point
|Battle of West Point|
|Part of the American Civil War|
|United States (Union)||CSA (Confederacy)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|James H. Wilson,
Oscar Hugh La Grange
|Robert C. Tyler†|
|Two cavalry divisions
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of West Point was fought on April 16, 1865 in West Point, Georgia, during General James H. Wilson's raid of the south during the American Civil War. This battle was fought at Fort Tyler seven days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant and two days after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln making it one of the last battles of the Civil War east of the Mississippi and Fort Tyler the last Confederate fort captured by the Union. The same day just 30 miles to the south, the Battle of Columbus, Georgia was fought by another division of Wilson's Raiders.
On the morning of April 16, the Union division of Wilson’s raid, led by Colonel Oscar Hugh La Grange and armed with muskets and heavy three pieces of heavy artillery, attacked Fort Tyler. The small group of Confederates, somewhere between 120 and 265 men, held the fort under the command of Brigadier General Robert C. Tyler. The battle raged on through most of the day as the outnumbered Confederates attempted to hold their fort. Around midday, during a stalemate, Tyler looked out onto the battlefield and was quickly shot dead by a sniper who was hiding out in a nearby cottage, which Tyler had been suggested to burn but refused because he did not want to leave his neighbors homeless. Shortly after the death of Tyler due to the sniper’s bullet and then his second-in-command the fort was overwhelmed by the Union soldiers and their back up leading to the Union victory.
After the battle, though this was one of the less deadly battles of the Civil War, there were still deaths on each side. For the Union, seven men were killed while twenty-nine were wounded. The Confederates’ losses were much greater as the defeated party; nineteen killed and twenty-eight wounded. The death of Brigadier General Tyler is noted as the last Confederate general to die in a battle. All those who died were buried in what is now known as the Fort Tyler Cemetery across the river.
After the victory for the Union, they took control of the town of West Point and the vital bridges over the Chattahoochee River which helped to connect Alabama and Georgia. These were quickly burned, along with railroad cars full of supplies and goods (though they did leave enough goods for the people of West Point to survive). This also made a good point for the Union to continue to march and meet with the rest of their company later for the Battle of Columbus.
- Cox, Dale. “Fort Tyler Historic Site - West Point, Georgia.” Accessed January 25, 2013. http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/forttyler.html.
- Sanders, Stuart. “Robert Charles Tyler: Last American Civil War Confederate General Slain in Combat.” Weider History Group - Historynet, June 12, 2006. http://www.historynet.com/robert-charles-tyler-last-american-civil-war-confederate-general-slain-in-combat.htm.
- Lenz, Richard. “The Battle of Fort Tyler.” In The Civil War in Georgia, An Illustarted Traveler’s Guide. Lenz Design & Communications Inc, 1995. http://www.sherpaguides.com/georgia/civil_war/sidebars/battle_of_fort_tyler.html.