Covering seven city blocks, the cemetery was begun on a part of the de L'Aigle Plantation and Brick Yard, donated by the Nicholas de L'Aigie family. It became known as the City Cemetery in 1818 and was later named for its stately magnolia trees.
Among those buried here are seven Confederate Generals (Alexander, Bryan, Girardy, Jackson, Smith, Stovall and Wright); poets Paul Hamilton Hayne, James Ryder Randall and Richard Henry Wilde; Augusta mayors George W. Evans and William White Holt; Georgia legislators John Shelton Davidson and Gen. Thomas Glascock; Revolutionary hero John Martin and heroine Susannah MacMurphy; author Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas; and educator Julia Anna Flisch.
Those within many walks of life, religions and nationalities are here. Headstone symbols include circles, columns, doves, eagles, hourglasses, ivy, roses, torches and the weeping willow.
Some designated sections are those for Confederate, Federal Civil War, Greek, Jewish, charity, churches and orphans.