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"Opened 1859; D. H. Hill was 1st superintendent; used as Confederate hospital; public school, 1883-1950. Stood near here." The North Carolina Military Institute was organized in the 1850s by a group of Charlotte businessmen led by Dr. Charles J. Fox. The cornerstone of the first building was laid in 1858. The building and educational programs it housed were patterned after those of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
D. H. Hill, previously a professor at Davidson College, guided development of the curriculum and served as president of the board of directors. Hill instituted stiff regulations on conduct for his cadets based on training he received as a student at West Point and through his Mexican War experiences. After receiving its charter in 1859, the Institute enrolled approximately 125 students ranging in age from twelve to twenty-one. The first class of cadets graduated in 1860 and served as some of the first recruits and training personnel for North Carolina troops at the start of the Civil War.
At the start of the war, Governor Zebulon B. Vance summoned D.H. Hill and other military strategists to Raleigh to assemble camps of instruction for freshly recruited troops. Hill was placed in charge of Camp Ellis in Raleigh and was joined by many of his faculty and cadets in forming the First North Carolina Regiment. All of the staff officers of the regiment were former faculty members of the Institute. When the regiment was formed, Adjutant General Robert F. Hoke stipulated that the cadets could join the regiment with the consent of their parents and guardians. Once most of the students and all of the leading faculty members had gone off to war, the school was used as a Confederate military hospital.
Following the war, the facility was used as a female academy and later another military school, the Carolina Military Institute (also called the Charlotte Military Institute) was conducted by Colonel J. P. Thomas from 1873 until 1882. After the close of the military school in 1882, the building was used by the Charlotte public school system from 1883 until 1950. Construction of an extension of Independence Boulevard in 1954 led to the destruction of the impressive brick school building.
Rod Andrew Jr., Long Gray Lines: The Southern Military School Tradition, 1839-1915 (2001)
William S. Powell, North Carolina Through Four Centuries (1989)
Gail O’Brien, “Power and Influence in Mecklenburg County, 1850-1880,” North Carolina Historical Review (Spring 1977): 120-144
Mecklenburg Female College broadside, online at:
General D.H. Hill Papers, University of Virginia, online finding aid:
D. H. Hill Papers, University of Virginia: http://www.lva.lib.va.us/whatwehave/bio/DH.html
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.