This earthen fortification is one of the few remaining traces, of a ring of entrenchments that encircled Atlanta during the summer of 1864. The Atlanta City Council voted on May 22, 1863 to ask Confederate engineers to construct fortifications at the Chattahoochee River. Lemuel P. Grant, an Atlanta resident, Confederate engineering officer and former railroad builder was chosen to lead the project. In August 1863 Grant proposed adding a full perimeter of works around the city. The Confederate government approved Grant's proposal with the stipulation that the works be "far enough from the town to prevent the enemy coming within bombarding distance."
Grant originally designed the perimeter with 19 artillery forts, each having four to six cannon connected by rifle-pits. Through the fall of 1863 Grant oversaw construction, built by hundreds of slaves. Each slave was hired for $1 per day or $25 per month paid to their master. Where the defensive lines crossed private property fields were dug-up and houses were torn down, even on Grant's own land. Trees were cut down to create clear fields of fire.
The original circle of fortifications extended 10-1/2 miles but averaged only 1-1/4 miles from the center of the city—well within range of enemy rifled cannon. A larger circle would have required more troops to adequately occupy
it, but Grant was limited by the available manpower of the Confederate army. Grant estimated his fortifications required a defending army of at least 50,000 soldiers.
At first the forts had only alphabetic designations. You are standing at fortification "R" almost two miles from the city's center. To include this prominent hill within the lines a bulge of extra works as created outside the main perimeter. Grant also began planning for extensions to the northeast and northwest of the city which were hastily constructed as Federal armies approached.
When Union Major General William T. Sherman's armies approached Atlanta in July 1864 they found before them the third most heavily fortified city on the continent, after Richmond, Virginia and Washington DC. The Confederate earthworks were judged by Sherman "to strong to assault and too extensive to invest [besiege]." As a result this fort never came under enemy fire. The closest fighting to this fort occurred 1/2 mile northeast, the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864, famously depicted by the Cyclorama. In that battle, Confederate Major General William H.T. Walker was killed, and his name was subsequently given to this fort.
After the fall of Atlanta in September 1864 the Federal army occupied the works. General Sherman gave orders to build a more compact line closer to the city than Lemuel Grant's works.
In 1882 Grant donated 100 acres to the city of Atlanta and "Grant Park" was named in his honor. Later enlarged, it is Atlanta's oldest park.