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 :: Camp Lee ::
Information about Camp Lee in Richmond, VA during the Civil War.

Also known as New Fairgrounds, or Camp of Instruction. Used as a training camp in the early part of the war, and consisted of several barracks type buildings that appear to have been used for garrison and hospital purposes later in the war. Located west of the city, north of Broad street at the present location of the area behind the Science Museum of Virginia (former Union Station).

RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 151, p. 41 9/1862 - 9/1864; Statistics of Camp Lee Hospital


Detail of an 1867 Corps of Engineers map, showing Camp Lee
Camp Lee, Headquarters, Near Richmond; Harpers Weekly, June 1862
Conscript Office, Camp Lee; Harpers Weekly, June 1862

Written Accounts

Ledger of Confederate Hospital Practice no date; Rules and Regulations for Camp Lee Hospital
Richmond Dispatch

10/30/1860; the upcoming cavalry encampment at the "Central Fair Grounds" will be called "Camp Lee," fifteen companies to attend

Richmond Dispatch

10/31/1860; notes on the wool manufacturers of Virginia, especially Crenshaw Woolen mills.

Richmond Dispatch 10/31/1860; praises the establishment of Camp Lee and the upcoming cavalry encampment - in this time of "ominous clouds...none of us can tell how soon the services of the troops may be needed."
Richmond Dispatch 11/1/1860; notes on the success and proceeds of the late Agricultural Fair at the Central Fair Grounds
Richmond Dispatch 11/1/1860; Capt. Charles Dimmock has resigned from the board of the Central Agricultural Society
Richmond Dispatch 11/2/1860; a cavalry company from Caroline county will be attending the upcoming encampment - there will be 16 companies there
Richmond Dispatch

11/2/1860; a cavalry company from Caroline county will be attending the upcoming encampment - there will be 16 companies there

Richmond Dispatch

11/6/1860; paragraph noting the upcoming cavalry encampment and that a local citizen has donated a saddle to be won by competition - some of the troops named

Richmond Dispatch 11/7/1860; the first troops are expected today at Camp Lee.
Richmond Dispatch 11/7/1860; 1st VA regiment will parade at Camp Lee on Friday, Nov. 9
Richmond Dispatch 11/7/1860; Executive Committee of the Central Agricultural Society to meet
Richmond Dispatch 11/8/1860; cavalry encampment at Camp Lee commences today - notes on the zeal of the soldiers and lists companies that have arrived. "The tents are pitched on the plat of ground behind the Exhibition Hall."
Richmond Dispatch 11/8/1860; Governor’s Guard parades around the city and proceeds to Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 11/8/1860; Col. Hardee has arrived to visit the encampment and stays with the Governor
Richmond Dispatch 11/9/1860; long and important article about Camp Lee - Col. Hardee has reviewed the troops, and gives lists of officers from different companies. First Regiment Virginia Volunteers will be there today.
Richmond Dispatch 11/10/1860; important description of review at Camp Lee; 1st VA Regiment parades, list given of companies participating. Hardee takes the review again.
Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1860; soldiers at Camp Lee conclude their encampment and are dismissed after parading through town and Capitol Square
Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1860; paragraph praising Col. Hardee and thanking him "for coming here to instruct our troops in the art military"
Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1860; members of the cavalry companies have stayed behind at Richmond following the encampment
Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1860; Lamentation that the remains of Gen. Henry Lee have not been removed to Virginia - Camp Lee was named for him, and petition is circulated among the cavalrymen to have Lee’s remains returned
Richmond Dispatch 4/24/1861; VMI cadets have arrived in Richmond and are quartered at the Fair Grounds (Camp Lee) and parade for the Governor on Capitol Square
Richmond Dispatch 4/24/1861; half dozen companies are encamped at the Fair Grounds - more expected today
Richmond Dispatch 4/24/1861; all companies arriving in Richmond will immediately proceed to the Hermitage Fair Grounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Dispatch 4/26/1861; VMI cadets are drilling recruits at the Fair Grounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Enquirer 4/27/1861; list of troops at the new fair grounds (Camp Lee); Col. Gilham is in command, and VMI cadets present
Richmond Enquirer 4/27/1861; all VMI graduates and ex-cadets can find employment at the Camp of Instruction (Camp Lee)
Richmond Enquirer 4/27/1861; all volunteer companies will proceed at once to the Hermitage Fair Grounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Dispatch 4/29/1861; long article describing the “Hermitage Camp of Instruction” (Camp Lee) and praising the VMI cadets who have drilled the volunteers there.
Richmond Dispatch 4/30/1861; provisions needed at Camp Lee hospital
Richmond Dispatch 5/4/1861; Rev. Francis Boggs, the Chaplain at Camp Lee, has been elected Captain in the 1st VA Inf.
Richmond Dispatch 5/21/1861; religious services are held at Camp Lee, administered by Dr. Hoge and Dr. Duncan
Richmond Whig 5/22/1861; Camp of Instruction (Camp Lee) described. VMI cadets praised.
Richmond Dispatch 5/30/1861; great description of the arrival of President Jefferson Davis in Richmond and the celebration in the city as he is escorted to Spotswood Hotel; later he reviewed the troops at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 6/25/1861; Col. Gilham of VMI, currently commandant of Camp of Instruction, is raising an infantry regiment
Richmond Examiner 6/26/1861; cholera victim at Camp Lee buried at Shockoe Cemetery
Richmond Whig 7/2/1861; Letter from the Richmond Zouaves at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 7/3/1861; Maryland Volunteers will be presented with a new flag at Camp Lee; mentions J. H. Winder presiding over the ceremonies
Richmond Dispatch 7/5/1861; George Watt finds a little negro girl "near the new fair grounds"
Richmond Enquirer 7/6/1861; Maryland volunteers receive a flag from President Davis at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 7/10/1861; Dr. Hoge, chaplain at Camp Lee, has set up collection place for donations next to the R. F. & P. depot
Gen. John H. Winder CSR , M331 7/16, 18/1861; Gen. J. H. Winder assigned to "Camp of Instruction" to relieve Col. Gilham; two days later relieved by Col. Dimmock.
M437, Letters Received by the CSA Secretary of War 7/19/1861; Surg. Peticolas says 3300-4000 men at Camp Lee and asks for additional surgical assistance - Surg. (W. A.?) Carrington has been assigned there and Surg. Gen. recommends A.Y.P. Garnett to the post
Richmond Dispatch 7/23/1861; 4th company of Richmond Howitzers, camped at the New Fair Grounds, need 30 men to bring them up to full strength
Richmond Dispatch 7/29/1861; letter describing poor medical treatment at Camp Lee, and praise of the treatment provided by the Richmond ladies
Richmond Whig 8/3/1861; "The Life Guard," and "Capt. Bayly's company" are at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 8/7/1861; Court Martial at Hermitage Fair Grounds. Col. Wigfall to be President
Richmond Dispatch 8/16/1861; 4th Company of Richmond Howitzers are gathering at New Fairgrounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Whig 9/10/1861; 15 deaths in the 16th Georgia regiment at Camp Lee in one week
Richmond Dispatch 11/1/1861; Rev. John C. McCabe appointed chaplain of area military posts
Richmond Dispatch 11/2/1861; more details on Rev. Dr. McCabe - came from the 32VA
Richmond Examiner 11/4/1861; Tents blown down at Camp Lee and Dimmock
Richmond Dispatch 11/22/1861; Dr. McCabe, post Chaplain, overwhelmed with work
Richmond Enquirer 12/10/1861; 3 officers and one VMI cadet are ordered from the Camp of Instruction to duty in the prisons (includes T. P. Turner and Geo. Emack)
Richmond Dispatch 3/14/1862; 19 & 179 Militia camped at New Fairgrounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Dispatch 3/17/1862; Parker’s Battery to assemble at the old market, and march to Camp of Instruction (Camp Lee)
Richmond Dispatch 4/4/1862; soldier accidentally killed at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 4/5/1862; Pryce Lewis and John Scully to be hanged soon at the New Fair Grounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Dispatch 4/16/1862; Herbig’s Infirmary Company is training at the New Fair Grounds (Camp Lee)
Richmond Dispatch 4/28/1862; Timothy Webster, a Pinkerton agent, has been condemned to be hung as a spy
Richmond Dispatch 4/29/1862; Timothy Webster will be hung today
Richmond Dispatch 4/30/1862; Details of the execution of Timothy Webster at Camp Lee; "Mrs. Webster" still confined in Castle Godwin
Richmond Dispatch 7/1/1862; Boylan orders Sappers & Miners to report to Camp Lee. Company to be disbanded
Richmond Examiner 7/7/1862; Camp Lee is being considered for use as a prison
Richmond Dispatch 7/8/1862; Lt. Trabue, ex-Richmond Howitzers, now “General Superintendent” of prisons. Ordered to “see that the guard do their duty.” Trabue had previously been an artillery instructor at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 7/12/1862; Wm. J. Snead, Hospital Steward, wants 1 cook and 1 laundress at Camp Lee Hospital
Richmond Dispatch 7/14/1862; 1 cook and 1 laundress needed at Camp Lee Hospital
Richmond Dispatch 7/15/1862; J. W. Hines, Asst. Surg. Purcell Battery, adv for lost horse. Battery at Old Fair Grounds – information to be left at St. Charles Hospital
Richmond Dispatch 7/24/1862; Purcell Battery refitted & left Camp Lee to join army. Lost 60 of 90 men in Seven Days
Charleston Mercury 8/2/1862;  "War Gossip" mentions criticism of the Dix-Hill Prisoner Cartel, the condemnation of Gen. Butler, South Carolinians at Camp Lee, and describes the newly formed Belle Isle Prison - notes that there are 4600 POWs there
Richmond Dispatch 8/8/1862; All members of E59VA to Camp Lee for reorganization
Richmond Whig 8/12/1862; excellent description of Camp Lee and how it has changed since its use as a fair grounds; advocates sanitary measures be taken
Richmond Dispatch 8/21/1862; there will be a hanging of a counterfeiter tomorrow at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 9/8/1862; 500 prisoners paroled (400 from Belle Isle, 100 from Libby), guarded by men from Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 9/20/1862; Three men at Castle Thunder to be executed – named. To occur next week at Camp Lee, under G. W. Alexander’s supervision
Richmond Enquirer 9/22/1862; three deserters, confined at Castle Thunder, to be shot at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 9/23/1862; Davis postpones three executions at Camp Lee (prisoners are at Castle Thunder) for 10 days
Richmond Dispatch 9/29/1862; flag of truce boat has brought 205 Confederates to Richmond - they have been taken to the Soldiers' Home and Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 9/29/1862; Three Irishmen from Camp Lee jailed for drunken fight, including Barney McNunn and Jno. Brennan; man charged with keeping disorderly house near Dr. Higginbotham’s Hospital – brawling with wife, etc.
Richmond Dispatch 10/2/1862; B. W. Rogers, soldier to be shot for desertion at Camp Lee, pardoned on account of previous bravery. Two others, Patrick McGowan & John Kellaher, still to be shot.
Richmond Dispatch 10/4/1862; D. W. Rogers, pardoned from execution, has been respited only. Maybe same as John Roach, crew of CSS Virginia
Richmond Dispatch 10/4/1862; Patrick McGowan & John Kellaher, Castle Thunder prisoners, to be shot today at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 10/6/1862; long description of 10/4 execution of two 14th Va men: Patrick McGowan & John Kelleher. Taken from Castle Thunder to Camp Lee in “large omnibus” of Exchange Hotel, escorted by Wrenn’s Henrico cavalry. Part of Cyrus Bossiuex’s Co. did the executing. G. W. Alexander in charge. D. W. Rogers, 1 Va., respited 14 days, & Owen Maguire, 1 Va gets 50 lashes. Whipping performed by volunteer from Wrenn’s Co.
Richmond Dispatch 10/15/1862; D. W. Rogers, G1Va at Castle Thunder, to be shot at Camp Lee, 10/18
Richmond Dispatch 10/17/1862; Escape attempt at Castle Thunder foiled. To benefit Rogers, the 1Va soldier due to be shot.
Richmond Dispatch 10/21/1862; 25VaBn barracks south side of basin. To have drill today at Camp Lee & Capitol Square
Richmond Dispatch 10/31/1862; Jno. F. Parke, 44Va, at Castle Thunder, announced to be shot 11/3 at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 11/3/1862; list of new Castle Thunder inmates. 9 unnamed deserters from Camp Lee; some disloyal Loudoun county men, & a few others
Richmond Dispatch 11/3/1862; member of the 44th Va (Richmond Zouaves) reprieved from being shot at Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 11/5/1862; list of comings and goings at Castle Thunder. Some names & details: 13 deserters received from Camp Lee.
Richmond Dispatch 11/12/1862; John C. Maynard, Capt. AQM Camp of Instruction, taking bids for construction of frame chapel at post
Richmond Dispatch 11/13/1862; absentees from Guy’s Goochland Artillery ordered to report to Camp Lee
Richmond Dispatch 12/10/1862; Jackson Triplett, 54NC, died 12/8 at Castle Thunder – typhoid pneumonia; unnamed sentinel at Camp Lee supposedly froze to death, 12/7
Richmond Dispatch 12/13/1862; Jno. Mulligan, two-time deserter from D5VaCavy., to be shot at Camp Lee, 12/16
Richmond Enquirer 12/13/1862; sentinel at Camp Lee freezes to death; chaplain seeks blankets for the men
Richmond Dispatch 12/16/1862; John Mulligan, 5VaCav., gets 20 day respite from execution
Richmond Sentinel 4/11/1863; details of the execution of Captain Webster, a Castle Thunder prisoner, at Camp Lee
Richmond Sentinel 4/29/1863; two men of the City Battalion have their heads shaved and drummed out of camp for accepting a bribe from a prisoner which allowed him to escape - sent to Camp Lee as conscripts
Official Records, Ser. I, Vol. XXVII/3, p. 951 7/1/1863; report on convalescents available for defense of Richmond. Camp Winder and Camp Lee mentioned.
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 416, pp. 154-155 7/7/1863; Carrington writes to the surgeon at the Camp Lee hospital lecturing him about the operation of the hospital. Gives good details on matrons’ responsibilities, and the role of a Chief Surgeon.
Richmond Sentinel 7/20/1863; details on the identification of the mustering officer at Camp Lee
Richmond Sentinel 8/4/1863; notes that the grounds of the Hermitage Fair Grounds (Camp Lee) have been negatively impacted by the usages of war
Richmond Sentinel 9/26/1863; details of the execution of Spencer Kellogg (convicted as a spy) at Camp Lee 
Richmond Examiner 1/1/1864; New Year's dinner donations to Camp Lee
Richmond Whig 5/26/1864; VMI cadets were quartered at Camp Lee before being put under Brig. Gen. Custis Lee's command and given new uniforms by the Secretary of War
Richmond Sentinel 8/17/1864; a duel was fought yesterday between John M. Daniel of the Richmond Examiner, and R. C. Elmore, of the Treasury department. Daniel was wounded in the right leg
Richmond Sentinel 8/18/1864; details of the trail of R. C. Elmore, for duelling with J. M. Daniel. Dr. Peticolas, the physician at the duel, refuses to testify on the grounds that he might incriminate himself. Counsel gets a change of venue because the duel was fought in Henrico, not in the city.
Richmond Whig 8/18/1864; description of the duel examination before the Mayor - mentions Dr. Peticolas' protest
Richmond Sentinel 8/22/1864; more details on the recent duel - Dr. Peticolas continues to refuse to testify
Richmond Whig 8/22/1864; more details of the Daniel/Elmore duel in a Henrico court - Dr. Peticolas refuses to testify
Richmond Sentinel 8/29/1864; arsonist torches the stable of John M. Daniel
Richmond Sentinel 8/29/1864; more details on the recent duel - Dr. Peticolas continues to refuse to testify and is recommended to be held in contempt of court
Richmond Whig 8/29/1864; more details of the Daniel/Elmore duel trial - including Dr. Peticolas' refusal to testify
Richmond Sentinel 8/30/1864; more details on the recent duel - Dr. Peticolas continues to refuse to testify after being ordered to do so and is thrown in jail
Richmond Whig 8/30/1864; Dr. Peticolas is declared to be "bound to testify" in the Daniel/Elmore duel trial
Richmond Sentinel 8/31/1864; details on the habeas corpus case of Dr. Peticolas' refusal to testify
Richmond Whig 8/31/1864; more on Dr. Peticolas' refusal to testify in the case of the Daniel/Elmore duel
Richmond Sentinel 9/1/1864; Dr. Peticolas is out on bail awaiting Judge's decision on his refusal to testify
Richmond Whig 9/1/1864; more on Dr. Peticolas' habeas corpus case over his refusal to testify in the Daniel/Elmore duel case
Richmond Sentinel 9/3/1864; Judge determines that Dr. Peticolas is not bound to testify and he is released
Richmond Whig 9/3/1864; Dr. Peticolas is declared not bound to testify, and is released
Richmond Sentinel 9/5/1864; more details of the trail of R. C. Elmore, for duelling with J. M. Daniel.
RG 109, Ch. 6, Vol. 151, p. 41 9/1862 - 9/1864; Statistics of Camp Lee Hospital
Richmond Sentinel 1/31/1865; description of Dr. Peticolas' case before the Virginia Supreme Court regarding his right not to testify in the J. M. Daniel duel case
OR, Series IV, Vol. 3, p. 1093 2/17/1865; J. T. L. Preston, Acting Superintendent of VMI, offers the services of the corps in training negro troops and cites the corps' previous experience as drillmasters in 1861 and notes that they drilled 15,000 recruits in 2 months.
The Old Guard, Vol. III, No XII; Dec. 1865; pp 553-565 December, 1865; "Camp Lee;" - describes the camp's use as a freedman's village and its occupation by federal forces. Excellent description of the physical facility during the war. By George Fitzhugh.
Trowbridge, John T., The South... 1866 account of the author's travels to Richmond and the adjoining battlefields. Good material on Belle Isle, Brown's Island, Libby Prison, battlefields near the city, Camp Lee; makes passing reference to George Fitzhugh living at Camp Lee, a destitute
Debow's Review 10/1866; "Camp Lee and the Freedman's Bureau;" mostly a racist diatribe, gives a few details into the camp's operation. By George Fitzhugh
Southern Opinion 6/27/1868; excellent article describing the beer gardens in town, with lengthy description of the “Hermitage Trotting Park,” formerly Camp Lee. Describes the current conditions and compares them with the wartime usages. Elba Park mentioned.
Clark, History of the 39th Illinois 1889; notes that the Union XXIV Corps hospital is located at Camp Lee, gives details on surgeons, etc. 
Southern Historical Society Papers 26, 1898, pp. 241- 246 Shields, John C. "The Old Camp Lee." Reprint from Richmond Dispatch, 22 May 1898

In the National Archives

Record Group 109, (ch. VI, vol. 712). 2 in. Morning Reports of Patients and Attendants, Louisiana and Camp Lee Hospitals; and of Federals Held Prisoner and Attendants, Belle Isle Barracks. 1862-65. 1 vol. The daily reports of patients and attendants show the number of patients in hospital, in private quarters, received, returned to duty, transferred, furloughed, discharged, deserted, died, and remaining; the number of medical officers, stewards, nurses, cooks, laundresses, matrons, wardmaster, and guards present for duty; and remarks. The daily reports of sick and wounded Federals held prisoner show the number in prison; the number admitted to treatment since the last report; total in prison, transferred, and remaining in prison; and the number of medical officers, stewards, and nurses present for duty. The reports are arranged in two groups, as indicated in the above title, thereunder chronologically, and thereunder by State of patient's organization.

Page last updated on 07/17/2008