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Governor AG Brown made the first public proposition to establish a hospital for the insane in 1846.
In 1848, the Mississippi Legislature appropriated funds for the original facility, which opened in 1856 at the present site of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The institution became a highly contested site during the Civil War. Under the direction of General William T. Sherman, the Union Army ransacked the institution during the early stages of the occupation of Jackson in July 1863. Union soldiers plundered the storeroom and garden, and slaughtered numerous livestock. Making matters worse, seven of institution’s ten employees left their jobs and joined the Union Army.