"McDonough School Used for a Confederate
Hospital during the Civil War"
The first school erected in McDonough was the Henry County Academy. It was built on Academy
Hill above the Big Spring along the Gwinnett Rd; which is Lawrenceville St. today. According to the
Macon Telegraph of January 9, 1827; " The Henry Academy at McDonough, Henry County, will go
into operation on Monday 15, January 1827. The trustees have procured as rector the Rev. James
Gamble formerly teacher of the Academy at Church-Hill, S.C." The Academy remained until 1850
when it was dissolved. The McDonough Collegiate Seminary was the first Hight School
on January 14, 1854. The McDonough Collegiate Institute was founded at the site on December
12, 1854 and the school records were sent during the Civil War to the Confederate government.
During the Civil War, there were very few students and on November 1, 1864 the officers took the
records of the school and went out of the county for safety.
The town had already seen the raid of Gen. Kilpatrick USA on August 20, 1864. The school and
other government offices were ransacked. Then the town was visited by many thousands of troops
on the evening of September 1, 1864 as General John B. Hood CSA and General Joseph Wheeler
CSA camped in and around McDonough.
The school was used as a hospital for the sick and disabled soldiers. Many of these men were sent
to other hospitals in Macon. The next day the Confederate Army
under Hood and Wheeler marched west to Lovejoy Station.
Then after the Right Wing of General W.T. Sherman's Army USA marched through the county and
they did considerable damage to the school.
During the Reconstruction Period the school was burned due to arson and for several years there
were no school buildings in McDonough.
In 1882, the McDonough Institute was reformed and relocated. The Institute finally dissolved in
1904 and the county began it's school board system.
Today Academy Hill is home to a subdivision developed over where this important piece of history
of Henry County once stood.
1. The Macon Telegraph Newspaper, 1827.
2. Scip Speer, History of McDonough, 1908.
3. The Mother of Counties, 1971, Mrs. Rainer.
4. Historical Reports of Gen. John B. Hood, CSA 1864.
"Site work and artifacts found on Academy Hill"
The area of Academy Hill as it was known to the early inhabitants of McDonough is located above
the Big Spring on Spring Street and above and behind the Henry County Health Department. (This
site today is the Henry County Elections Board.) The
site was checked with metal detecting devices and as targets were discovered the
area would be sifted with screens. There were several artifacts from the Civil War
Period at the site. The items found were consistent with camp sites.
A list of the Artifacts discovered:
1. Dropped .58 cal bullets
2. CS belt buckle
3. 6 Confederate buttons
4. Harmonica parts
5. 2 picket pins
6. 2 Indian Head Pennies 1859 & 1862
7. Confederate knife (with CS on blade)
The site was looked over for a period of one week. There was a report filed with
the AHS about the finds. This again was a small amount of artifacts around where
the school building was situated. There were many other camp sites across the area
that have yet to be discovered. Over 20,000 men were camped in the area.