From the Richmond Whig, 8/12/1862, p. 2, c. 1
CAMP LEE. – We paid a brief visit to Camp Lee, (the
Hermitage Fair Grounds near Richmond,) a few days ago. The place is sadly
altered since it was appropriated to the exclusive use of agricultural
exhibitions, but it is in much better plight than could be expected, under the
circumstances. The commandant of the post, Col. John C. Shields, has provided,
as far as it was possible to do so, against the defacement of the place, but as
the purposes for which it is now used are of the practical rather than
ornamental order, there has been but little margin for any observance or display
Col. Shield’s “headquarters” are in the isolated building
known, in agricultural times, as the “President’s Office.” The business room is
on the lower floor; the dormitory up stairs. During our stay, he was plied with
questions about substitutes, furloughs, etc., and seems to have his hands full.
His Adjutant is Lt. James H. Binford.
The long building beyond the headquarters is occupied by
quartermasters, surgeons, drill masters, etc. – In front of this building is an
enclosed space, in which the officers seek recreation, in the “cool of the
evening” by playing games with marbles.
The new exhibition hall and the “horticultural hall” are
both used as hospitals, and contain a large number of patients. We hope that
they are not overlooked by those benevolent people who attend to the
distribution of delicacies for the sick. The spiritual welfare of the patients
is not neglected. In passing the first mentioned building, we heard the voice of
supplication to the Throne of Grace, and observed a minister in the attitude of
prayer, many of the patients also kneeling at their couches. Religious services
are held on the lawn east of this hospital every Sunday afternoon – conducted by
Rev. Dr. M. D. Hoge.
A number of tents occupied by artillery companies,
conscripts, and exchanged prisoners are scattered over the grounds. The men
generally lead an idle life – the exception being the artillerists who are
drilled every day, in practical gunnery. A gymnasium of some sort, with regular
hours for training and exercise would not be an unprofitable acquisition.
A pool for bathing purposes is very much needed at Camp
Lee. The men now repair to a shallow creek in the vicinity, but it is doubtful
if their ablutions in that stream are productive of cleanliness.