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This Day in Georgia History

September 14, 1885

Land for Fort McPherson Ceded

Gov. Henry McDaniel signed an act of the General Assembly ceding to the United States jurisdiction over such land in Fulton and DeKalb counties the U.S. might acquire for the purpose of building a military installation up to 200 acres in size (amended to 250 acres in 1886). The action came after Congress appropriated $500,000 to build a military post somewhere in the Atlanta area. In May 1885, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock had chosen a 140-acre site on the Central Railroad at a point near the road to East Point. In 1886, construction began a new federal post - initially to be called Fort Hancock. However, before completion of the facility in 1889, federal authorities had decided instead to name it in honor Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson, who had been killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864. Excluding Fort Pulaski (located in the mouth of the Savannah River and completed in 1847), Fort McPherson was the first major U.S. military installation in Georgia. The Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II would lead to many more U.S. Army bases, airfields, and other military installations being constructed in Georgia.

Image of Land for Fort McPherson Ceded View large image
Source: Collection of Ed Jackson