Read these stories from West Point history and plan your visit to stand in the spot…
Where the Battle of West Point Raged
Fort Tyler saw the desperate last stand by Confederate troops on April 16, 1865. West Point was an important crossing point on the Chattahoochee River, and Brig. Gen. R.C. Tyler was tasked with keeping Union troops from taking the bridge and advancing on LaGrange. Tyler did not survive the battle, making him the last general on either side to die in the Civil War.
Union forces, numbering around 3,750, reached the outskirts of West Point at 10:00 AM on Easter Sunday.
Tyler assembled a garrison of only about 200 men. Even as Union troops overtook the West Point Bridge and it was clear the Confederates would lose, Gen. Tyler and his men continued to fight. After Tyler’s death, his men kept fighting until sundown in a courageous last stand. At 6 PM, the flag came down and Fort Tyler surrendered.
Fort Tyler has been reconstructed on its original site. Near the parking lot, a set of interpretive panels provide the history before you walk uphill to the fort.
Where the West Point Railroad grew the nation
The West Point Depot was built in 1887 and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2005. The depot was where the Atlanta and West Point Railroad met the Montgomery and West Point Railroad. When these two railroads began, they did not use the same gauge rail, so trains coming into West Point had to be moved to a different track before leaving. Since this process was time-consuming and sometimes required passengers to spend the night in West Point, a hotel was built and contributed to the prosperity of the growing town.
The original depot has been completely renovated and stands as a symbol of our small town’s pride in our past and anticipation of the future. The restored depot is now a visitor center, museum, and event center. You may visit it at 500 3rd Avenue in West Point.
Where General Tyler is buried
The Fort Tyler Cemetery contains the remains of 76 soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who died during the Civil War. Those buried there include General Tyler, who is buried in a joint grave with his second in command, Celestino Gonzales. The small brick-enclosed burial ground is located on the southwest corner of Pinewood Cemetery in West Point.
Where Hawkes Library was built
High on the bank of the Chattahoochee River sits Hawkes Library. The library was funded by a famous optometrist, Albert King Hawkes, who believed in the importance of education and funded the library in his will. At the library, you can find an original letter written by Hawkes and a photograph of the library from 1922. Although West Point has flooded many times, Hawkes Library has always been safe because of its high location.
Since the library opened in 1922, generations of West Point residents have enjoyed this small-town gem, where their local librarian knows their name and book preferences by heart!
Visitors find a deeper connection to West Point’s history when they can stand in the spot where some of our most significant events occurred. If you love to experience the history of a place, plan a trip to West Point and stand in the spot!