In February 1864, to relieve the serious overcrowding of Confederate hospitals in the Atlanta and Dalton areas, Columbus was chosen as the site of a 1,500 bed army hospital. Eight buildings on Broad Street, including two saloons and the Court House, were rented and equipped. By May there were 1,350 patients. The location seemed remote from enemy raids.
One of the largest convalescent hospitals in the Confederacy was constructed "on the edge of town" on the site of Camp Montgomery, with Dr. Francis O. Ticknor, Georgia doctor and poet, as its chief surgeon.
The greatest hospital activity here followed the capture of Atlanta in September, 1864. On October 1, Dr. Samuel Hollinsworth Stout, Medical Director of Hospitals, Army and Department of Tennessee, ordered hospitals under his command moved to Columbus from Macon and Barnesville. Hundreds of patients were placed in tents on the town common and under the open sheds of the Muscogee Railroad. Subsidiary units were established in Opelika and Tuscumbia, Ala. Advance reports of the approach of Wilson's Raiders in 1865 caused the rapid removal of the hospital staffs and patients to Atlanta before the raiders reached Columbus.