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United Confederate Veterans. R.e. Lee Camp, No. 1

A Guide to the United Confederate Veterans.
R.e. Lee Camp, No. 1 (Richmond, Va.) Records, 1883-1936
Call Number Mss3 G7628 a FA1

Formerly known as:
Grand Camp Confederate Veterans. Dept. of Virginia.
Lee (R.E.) Camp, No. 1 (Richmond, Va.)

 


Abstract

Main Entry: United Confederate Veterans. R.E. Lee Camp No. 1 (Richmond, Va.)
Title: Records, 1883-1936.
Size: 6,400 (ca.) items.
Historical Note: R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 was established in 1883 and chartered in 1884 as the first permanent Confederate veterans organization in the United States. The Lee Camp Soldiers' Home was established in 1884 to provide for needy, often disabled, Confederate veterans with no other means of financial support. The camp was located in Richmond's West End on the Robinson farm, on a block now bordered by the Boulevard and Grove, Sheppard, and Kensington avenues. The farmhouse contained the home's headquarters and rooms for commissioned officers; enlisted men occupied ten cottages built on the property. Support buildings included a hospital, dining hall, recreation center, laundry, print shop, steam shop, storage building, workshop, and chicken house. Veterans also built a nondenominational chapel in 1887. The camp's heyday was from 1890 to 1910, when approximately 300 veterans were in residence at any given time. The last resident died in 1941 and the camp property reverted to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Summary: Include minute books, correspondence, financial records, reports, resolutions, applications, speeches, and miscellany concerning the Lee Camp; materials concerning reunions of the United Confederate Veterans at Richmond, Va., in 1907 and 1915; correspondence, reports, title, financial and pension records, roll, roster of inmates, and library register and inventory of Lee Camp Soldiers' Home, Richmond, Va.; and personal papers of James Taylor Stratton (of Richmond, Va.). Also, include reminiscences by and about the following: Alexander Whitworth Archer (service in Company B, 12th Virginia Infantry), Chiswell Dabney (Jeb Stuart at Gettysburg), John Lamb (the character of the Confederate soldier), Stephen Dill Lee (the Battle of Sharpsburg), Charles T. Locks (the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff), Randolph Harrison McKim (Jeb Stuart at Gettysburg), Philip Samuel (service in Company E, 30th Virginia Infantry), Philip D. Stephenson (the Battle of Missionary Ridge), and W. L. Timberlake (the Siege of Richmond, 1864-1865).
Provenance: Acquired upon merger with the Confederate Memorial Association in 1946, subject to the provisions of an agreement with the Virginia Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1948. Accessioned 7 August 1985.
Restrictions: None.

Collection Description

In the Spring of 1883, representatives from a number of local Confederate veterans’ organizations met together in Richmond for the purpose of forming a “Confederate Veterans Association.” From these meetings emerged a “Social and Beneficial Association” christened the R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, of Southern Veterans. Chartered by the Commonwealth in 1884, Lee Camp vowed in its by-laws to “perpetuate the memory of our fallen comrades, and to minister as far as practicable to the wants of those who were permanently disabled in the service, to preserve and maintain that sentiment of fraternity born of the hardships and dangers shared in the march, the bivouac and the battlefield .... to extend to our late adversaries, on every fitting occasion, courtesies which are always proper between soldiers, and which in our case a common citizenship demands at our hands.”

Granted the right to certify similar units under its charter, the Lee Camp became the central Confederate veterans organization in Virginia until the formation of the Grand Camp Confederate Veterans in 1888. Intending a state-wide and eventually a national structure, the Grand Camp evolved through regional departments, the Department of Virginia receiving its charter of incorporation in 1890. At about the same time, a movement across the country for the creation of a united Confederate veterans association was gaining momentum. The Virginia Grand Camp units joined the United Confederate Veterans, but retained and continued to emphasize their Grand Camp designations and organizational structure. Thus, Lee Camp, designated Camp No. 181 in the U.C.V., continued to be known officially as Camp No. 1, Confederate Veterans (i.e., Grand Camp) throughout its existence.

The records in this collection, described below, cover the greater part of the Camp’s history and were part of the “Archives” of Lee Camp placed in the Confederate Memorial Institute upon the construction of the Lee Camp Portrait Gallery in 1920s. The records came into the possession of the Virginia Historical Society upon its merger with the Confederate Memorial Association in 1946. Researchers should also be aware of additional collections of Lee Camp and Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home records in the Society’s holdings, as well as in the Archives Division of the Library of Virginia (accession numbers 21220, 24736, 26337, 27606 and 27991).

The collection is arranged in three major subdivisions: records of the Lee Camp as a corporate body; the Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home in Richmond; and personal papers of adjutant James Taylor Stratton. The first group begins with an unbroken series of nine minute books, 1883-1918, kept primarily by Camp adjutants Arthur Alexander Spitzer, who served from 1883 until 1889, and James Taylor Stratton, who served from 1889 until 1918. The minute books contain not only records of meetings (held weekly for many years), but also have committee reports, resolutions, correspondence and news clippings tipped in. The earliest volumes contain much information on one of the Lee Camp’s major goals and most prized accomplishments -- the creation of a soldiers’ home for destitute and disabled Confederate veterans. Most of the volumes are indexed, some with separate index booklets.

Volume I (1883-1885) of the minute book series contains letters of William Wilson Corcoran (p. 163), Fitzhugh Lee (pp. 162, 230) and Heros von Borcke (pp. 172-173). It also documents the early meetings of the Camp at the “Blues Armory” in Richmond and later at “Veterans ‘ Hall” on Broad Street. The new Lee Camp Hall at 514 East Broad Street was inaugurate in January 1896. Charles Broadway Rouss approached the Lee Camp about a historical records association and Confederate museum, a forerunner of the Confederate Memorial Association, in the fall of 1894 (see Volume IV, 1892-1896, pp. 191). A list of portraits owned by the Camp in 1905 appears in Volume VI (pp. 410-411), along with a letter from Congressman John Lamb (p. 449).

Box 1 of the Lee Camp records includes some scattered loose minutes and a letterbook, 1900-1909, of official communications kept by Adjutant Stratton. General correspondence of the Camp was generated primarily by the adjutant, commander (elected annually), sergeant-major, treasurer, and committee chairman. The Camp’s system of filing has been retained wherever possible; thus, the correspondence is arranged alphabetically by year. Veterans and officers of veteran organizations from both armies, applicants to the Camp and Soldiers’ Home, and local merchants and civil officials comprise the bulk of correspondents. Separate files are maintained for selected correspondents, based on quantity of material and importance of subject. This group includes Virginia governors William Evelyn Cameron (1894, 1903, 1905), Fitzhugh Lee (1885-1886, 1905), William Hodges Mann (1910-1911), Andrew Jackson Montague (1901-1903, 1914-1915), and Charles Triplett O’Ferrall (1893, 1895); senators John Warwick Daniel (1893-1895, 1899, 1905-1906), Thomas Staples Martin (1899, 1906, 1908, 1912-1915) and Claude Augustus Swanson (1906, 1908, 1912-1915); and Congressman John Lamb (1898-1900, 1902-1906, 1910-1911, 1913-1915), one of the most consistent and energetic political friends of the Camp.

Extensive files exist for communications from officers of the Virginia Department, Grand Camp Confederate Veterans (1889-1915) and the national headquarters and Virginia Division of the United Confederate Veterans (1891-1915). Other prominent correspondents include James Taylor Ellyson (1892-1893, 1895-1897, 1901-1902, 1905-1906, 1909-1915), Virginia lieutenant- governor and president of the Confederate Memorial Association; Richmond authoress Mary Johnston (1911, concerning criticism of The Long Roll); John E. Laughton (1897, 1900, 1905-1908, 1910-1913), Camp commander and long time chairman of the Portrait Gallery Committee; Charles Broadway Rouss (1894, 1896); Richmond artist William Ludwell Sheppard (1890); and Philip Daingerfield Stephenson (1897, 1912-1915), prominent veteran and Presbyterian minister. Also of interest are letters of George B. Doggett (1884), containing the earliest proposals for a Confederate soldiers’ home.

General account books commence in Box 16. The cash books were kept by the sergeant-major and include lists of members and deaths. The ledger, 1896-1897, covers rental income from the use of Lee Camp Hall by other organizations, but also contains an inventory of the adjutant’s office (pp. 25-53) which lists portraits and other paintings, photographs, books and manuscripts belonging to the Camp. The 1892-1897 ledger records membership dues. The sergeant-major also kept the Camp’s loose accounts (Boxes 17-22). Financial materials consist of records of the Camp treasurer; work estimates and contracts; portrait funds covering the collection of money for representations of General John Brown Gordon (including a receipt from artist Cornelius Hankins) and Camp commander John E. Laughton; and papers concerning a bequest to Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home from the estate of Edward Wilson James, 1907-1919.

A large group of reports by Camp officers and committees survives, along with a roll book of officers, 1896-1905. These reports derive primarily from the commanders, adjutant, and sergeant-major, and from standing and special (or ad hoc) committees. Among the standing committees represented: Auditing; Delegates; Delinquent Members; Employment; Entertainment; Ladies Auxiliary; Relief (for the Sick); Sons of Confederate Veterans; and Trustees. Reports from funeral details (1896-1915), consisting of members who attended memorial services and burials on behalf of Lee Camp, are also included here. The Library Committee reports include a minute book of committee meetings (1899-1906), as do the reports of the Portrait Gallery Committee (minute book, 1897-1927).

Loose resolutions (1883-1932), proposed in Lee Camp meetings, relate to Camp activities, memorials to deceased veterans and war leaders, and the like (Box 26). The applications for Camp membership which follow are divided into two classes. Two bound volumes, covering the period 1889-1905, preserve applications chronologically, as they were received by the Camp. Folders of loose applications, 1883-1916, are arranged in rough alphabetical order. The applications list military service, age, occupation, place of birth and residence. Applications by members for monthly income from Camp funds (1919-1923) shed some light on one of the most controversial relief programs of the later years of the Camp.

Materials relating to the title to Lee Camp Hall are grouped together (Box 29). These include deed and lease records of the first hall at 623 East Broad Street (1893) and the later home at 514 East Broad (1887-1915), along with records on the 1904 vote to amend the Camp’s charter in regard to property holdings. A substantial group of materials follows concerning Lee Camp’s dealings with the Home for Needy Confederate Women (now Confederate Home for Ladies) in Richmond. The Camp provided an annual appropriation to the Home for many years and also furnished a room specifically for widows of Lee Camp members. Controversy erupted in 1911 over the expulsion of a Lee Camp widow, Mrs. Minerva L. Hutchings, for “insubordination,” a case documented in some detail here.

Boxes 30-31 contain a number of interesting speeches, addresses, sermons, and reminiscences delivered before Lee Camp. Most of these speeches were given upon the presentation of portraits to the Lee Camp Portrait Gallery and concern the subjects depicted. Several others bear on individual service records or some controversial aspect of Confederate military history. A separate index follows this description.

Lee Camp established several committees to superintend the activities associated with the unveiling of the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond on 29 May 1890 (Box 31). Records of the Executive, Military, and Invitation and Reception committees consist of lists of committee assignments, correspondence (including a letter of artist William Ludwell Sheppard), loose accounts (arranged by committee), reports to Lee Camp, primarily by Charles Jeffries Anderson, chairman of the Military Committee, and some miscellany.

The United Confederate Veterans held their 17th Annual Reunion at Richmond, May 30-June 3, 1907. In the spring of 1906, delegates from Lee Camp and other veteran and memorial associations established a Reunion Committee headed by John Wooton Gordon as chairman and James Taylor Stratton as secretary. Fifteen subcommittees were commissioned to raise funds and make preparations. The records of this effort (Boxes 32-36) consist of a minute book, 1906-1908; correspondence (arranged alphabetically) of the chairman, treasurer (James Nalle Boyd) and subcommittees (including letters of John Warwick Daniel, James Taylor Ellyson, Mary Johnston, John Lamb and Claude Augustus Swanson); and several “special files.” The Reunion Committee maintained two sets of registers, one recording commissioned delegates by state and U.C.V. camp, the other attendees by U.C.V. division.

Eight years later the United Confederate Veterans returned to Richmond for their 25th Reunion, June 1-3, 1915. Again Lee Camp took a leading part in preparing for the annual gathering. John Lamb chaired the Reunion Committee, with James Taylor Stratton again serving as secretary. Minutes, 1914-1917, were kept in the 1907 Reunion minute book (see Box 32); other records include correspondence (with a letter from William Evelyn Cameron and James Taylor Ellyson as a frequent recipient of communications) and about a half-dozen special files (Boxes 37-39).

Under the broad heading “general miscellany” appears a two-volume diary presented to Lee Camp in 1899 by the son of Dr. William Hays. Hays served as an officer in Company B of the Second Kentucky Cavalry under John Hunt Morgan. His diary records the activities of that unit from 1862 to 1864, both in the field and after capture and imprisonment in the Ohio Penitentiary. The scrapbook, 1888-1896, of John Hampden Chamberlayne Bagby, an engineering student at the University of Virginia, includes newspaper clippings concerning incidents in Confederate history. Two albums, 1883, bear the autographs of members of Lincoln Post No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic, on a visit to Richmond. Folders of records covering Camp investigations, military pensions (1908-1915) and a wide range of other selected topics close out the corporate materials.

A significant group of records concerning the Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home in Richmond may be found in Boxes 42-44. The Home was founded in 1885 by the Lee Camp to care for indigent, disabled, and elderly Confederate veterans. Appropriations from the Commonwealth in later years necessitated the deeding of the Soldiers’ Home grounds to the state, to take effect upon the eventual closing of the Home. Gradually, parcels were granted to other organizations, including the Confederate Memorial Association, Home for Needy Confederate Women, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Title records, 1884-1914, include deeds, reports, plats, and notes concerning the Home grounds and lots on the east side of the Boulevard in Richmond, Board of Visitors materials include two letters from Fitzhugh Lee. There are also reports of officers and committees to Lee Camp; financial and pension materials; applications; and miscellany. A roll of the Home exists for 1915. The roster of inmates, 1885-1936, includes the name, date of discharge or death, and burial information for each resident.

Box 44 also contains some personal papers of Camp Adjutant James Taylor Stratton, a harness and leather manufacturer in Richmond, later employed in the city engineers’ office. These papers include small groups of correspondence, 1909-1917; loose accounts, 1916-1918; a record book, 1894-1898, as agent for Fitzhugh Lee in the sale of his biography of Robert E. Lee; and materials concerning Stratton’s service in Company A, 20th Battalion of Virginia Heavy Artillery, C.S.A. (including an 1862 roster).


Guide

Series I. R.E. Lee Camp records

Bound Volumes: minute books (9 v.), 1883-1918 (preceding Box 1)
Box 1: loose minutes, 1883-1906; letterbook, 1900-1909
1 (cont.)-15: general correspondence, 1883-1919 (arranged alphabetically by year)
16: cash books (4 v.), 1895-1911; ledger, 1896-1897 (includes inventory)
17: ledger, 1892-1897, of membership dues
17 (cont.)-22: loose accounts, 1889-1915, 1918-1919
22 (cont.): check stub books (2 v.), 1884-1894, 1913-1918 (filed oversize following Box 22)
23: financial materials (camp treasurer; work estimates and contracts; portrait funds; E. W. James estate); reports of camp officers and roll book of officers, 1896-1905
24-26: committee lists; committee reports (standing and special committees)
26 (con.t)-28: camp resolutions; applications for membership and monthly income
29: title records; 1904 charter amendment; Home for Needy Confederate Women, 1904-1916
30-31: speeches, addresses, reminiscences, etc.; Lee Monument unveiling, 1890
32-36: 1907 U.C.V. Reunion, Richmond (minute book, 1906-1908; correspondence; special files; registers [30 v. filed oversize following Box 36]
37-39: 1915 U.C.V. Reunion, Richmond (minute book [see Box 32]; correspondence; special files; check stub book [filed oversize following Box 39]
40-41: general miscellany including visitors’ register, 1897-1920; Bible (both filed oversize following Box 39); diary (2 v.) of William Hays; scrapbook; autograph albums; investigation of charges; military pensions; assorted files

Series II. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home records

Boxes 42-44: title records, 1884-1914; Board of Visitors materials; reports; financial materials; pensions; applications; roll of Home, 1915; roster of inmates, 1885-1936 (2 copies); occupancy record and monthly statement of purchases (filed oversize following Box 42); library register, 1916-1924, and inventory

Series III. James Taylor Stratton personal papers

Box 44 (cont.): correspondence, 1909-1917; loose accounts; record book, 1894-1898; service records; miscellany

Series IV. Printed Ephemera

Boxes 45-46: pamphlets, booklets, broadsides, invitations, etc. (Virginia and non-Virginia)

INDEX TO SPEECHES, ADDRESSES, ETC. (Boxes 30-31)

Portraits and Memorials

Subject Speaker Date
John Addison ? n.d.
Lewis Addison Armistead James E. Poindexter printed, 1909
Judah P. Benjamin Edward N. Calisch 1902
Reuben Beverly Boston Peter J. White 1911
James Read Branch John F. Glenn 1912
Thomas A. Brander Charles S. Stringfellow
Micajah Woods
1900
1900
Joseph Bryan Landon Randolph Mason 1909
Thomas Henry Carter Archer Anderson
George L. Christian
[1899]
[1899]
John Randolph Chambliss B. M. Parham
Peter F. Weaver
1899
1899
John Rogers Cooke Norman Vicent Randolph [1904]
Montgomery Dent Corse [Arthur Herbert] [1899]
Wilfred Emory Cutshaw George L. Christian [1908]
Jefferson Davis Theodore S. Garnett
Wm. H. Whitsitt
1908
printed, 1908
Varina Anne Davis Theodore S. Garnett 1899
John Echols James Bumgardner [1903]
Lewis Ginter Charles S. Stringfellow 1898
Wade Hampton W. W. Finney 1904
Henry Heth Randolph H. McKim 1911
Moses Drury Hoge J. G. McAllister 1900
Eppa Hunton James Keith [1902]
William Edmondson Jones V. A. Witcher [1901]
James Lawson Kemper William Evelyn Cameron 1903
James Henry Lane William Ruffin Cox printed, 1903
John Bankhead Magruder John B. Cary 1897
Matthew Fontaine Maury William A. Anderson
William H. Stewart
[1905]
[1905]
John Hunt Morgan Bennett H. Young 1912
William Watts Parker Thomas L. Alfriend [1899]
Waller Tazewell Patton H. C. Burrus [1901]
William Henry Payne Leigh Robinson
Thomas Smith
printed, 1909
1908
Edward Aylesworth Perry F. P. Fleming [1900]
George Edward Pickett Joseph V. Bidgood 1899
George Wythe Randolph H. C. Carter [1898]
Abram Joseph Ryan B. J. Keiley [1898]
Austin E. Smith Robert W. Hunter
Archer Anderson
William L. Royall
1908
[1900]
[1900]
James Ewell Brown Stuart Theodore S. Garnett
Henry B. McClelland
1898
[1898]
William Booth Taliaferro Henry R. Pollard [1900]
Reuben Lindsay Walker R. C. Marshall [1897]
John Augustine Washington Arthur Herbert
Walter H. Taylor
1909
1909
David Watson William T. Meade [1900]
William Augustine Webb Virginia Newton 1898
Williams Carter Wickham Thomas W. Synor [1897]
Peyton Wise John B. Cary 1897

Memorial Day Sermons

Speaker Date
Robert Archer Goodwin 1909
George White McDaniel 1918
Hugh David Cathcart Maclaehlan 1909

Reminiscences

Speaker Subject Date
Alexander Whitworth Archer Service in Company B, 12th Virginia Infantry 1894
Chiswell Dabney Jeb Stuart at Gettysburg 1911
John Lamb Character and Services of the Confederate Soldier printed, 1909
Stephen Dill Lee Sharpsburg n.d.
Charles T. Locks Drewry’s Bluff 1911
Randolph Harrison McKim Jeb Stuart at Gettysburg printed, 1909
Philip Samuel Service in Company E, 30th Virginia Infantry n.d.
Philip D. Stephenson Missionary Ridge printed, 1913
(with original manuscript)
W. L. Timberlake Siege of Richmond, 1864-1865 n.d.

Last updated: May 28, 2003