Georgia Military Institute
GMI's 110-acre campus included a parade ground, an academic building, four student barracks, and a residence for the school superintendent. Like most southern military schools of the late antebellum period, GMI based its curriculum on the course of study at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Discipline at the institution was strict, similar to that at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, and the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Between 50 and 75 percent of students left GMI each year because of the tough physical and academic standards.
Sometime during the 1850s the state legislature began subsidizing the education of ten cadets yearly as a way of providing qualified engineers and teachers for state projects. Upon graduation, those cadets were required to perform two years of service to the state.
Although the cadet battalion spent most of the Civil War serving as funeral details, provost guards, prisoner escorts, and drill instructors, the arrival of Union general William T. Sherman's troops
During the late summer and fall of 1864 Brown reassigned the GMI cadets to protect the state capital at Milledgeville from Union cavalry raids. In mid-November 1864 the cadets left Milledgeville as part of a ragtag group of militia and convicts hoping to stop Sherman's march to the sea. Despite their efforts Savannah fell in December, and the GMI battalion spent the remainder of the war acting as guards in Milledgeville and Augusta. The battalion officially disbanded on May 20, 1865.
After the war GMI alumni and Capers made several attempts to reopen the school, but all attempts failed to garner the needed financial support from the state. The Georgia legislature instead used the limited funds available during Reconstruction on public education at nonmilitary schools.
Rod Andrew Jr., Long Gray Lines: The Southern Military School Tradition, 1839-1915 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
Barry L. Brown and Gordon R. Elwell, Crossroads of Conflict: A Guide to Civil War Sites in Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010).
Keith Shaw Bohannon, "'Not Alone Trained to Arms But to the Science and Literature of Our Day': The Georgia Military Institute, 1851-1865" (master's thesis, University of Georgia, 1993).
Bowling C. Yates, History of the Georgia Military Institute ([Marietta, Ga.]: n.p., 1968).
Barton Myers, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.