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Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1

R. E. Lee Camp, No.1

 

—Confederate Soldiers’ Home —

 
Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 16, 2011
1. Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1 Marker
Inscription. Between 1885 and 1941 the present-day location of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was the site of a large residential complex for poor and infirm Confederate veterans of the Civil War. Established by R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans, the camp was built with private funds, including donations from former Confederate and Union soldiers alike. At peak occupancy, residents numbered just over three hundred; altogether a total of nearly three thousand veterans from thirty-three states called the camp home. From the camp’s earliest years, the Commonwealth of Virginia helped fund the institution. When the last resident died in 1941, the Commonwealth gained ownership of the site and designated it as the Confederate Memorial Park.

“We have a home in the true sense of the word for the old boys.”

Near this area was once the central commons of the Confederate soldiers’ home. Around the oak-filled park stood the administration building, barracks, dining hall, hospital, recreation hall, steam plant, and assorted outbuildings. The superintendent’s house, nine residential cottages, and a chapel formed an arc to the west. With the exception of Robinson House and the Confederate Memorial Chapel, the structures were demolished or moved in the early 1940s.

For residents, life revolved around
Confederate Soldiers' Home image. Click for full size.
2. Confederate Soldiers' Home
Veterans demonstrate battery formations near their cottages in this early 20th-century photograph. Of the several Napoleon twelve-pounder artillery pieces once displayed on the grounds, two remain on view near Robinson House. Photo: Cook Collection, Valentine Richmond History Center
a semi-military routine of drills, chores, and inspection. Leisure activities included storytelling and card playing, as well as occasional lectures, musicales, and visits from schoolchildren. In 1904 resident Benjamin J. Rogers described the camp as a “home in the true sense,” noting:

Our rooms are furnished with two single iron bedsteads … good mattress, bureau, washstand, pitcher and bowl, and two chambers. We are required to sweep them out every morning and carry out our slops…. They give us a hat, over coat, full suit of uniform, four pair shoes a year, soap, tobacco, chewing or smoking … undershirts and drawers, top shirts … socks, towels and color handkerchiefs.

Home for Needy Confederate Women

The monumental limestone building to the west was built in 1932 as a residence for destitute female relatives of Confederate veterans. After relocating the home’s final inhabitants to a nursing facility in 1989, the Commonwealth set aside the property for use by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Today the renovated and renamed Pauley Center houses museum offices and meeting rooms.
 
Erected 2011 by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
 
Location. 37° 33.388′ N, 77° 28.553′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia
Home for Needy Confederate Women (Pauley Center) image. Click for full size.
3. Home for Needy Confederate Women (Pauley Center)
Funded through private donations and state support, the Home for Needy Confederate Women was designed by architect Merrill Lee, who was inspired by the neoclassical motifs of the White House. It faces Sheppard Street. Photo: VMFA
. Marker can be reached from North Sheppard Street east of Hanover Avenue. Click for map. Located behind the Pauley Center at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 North Sheppard Street, Richmond VA 23221, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Home For Needy Confederate Women (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Memorial Chapel (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Confederate Memorial Chapel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Robinson House (about 400 feet away); Arnold’s Picket Driven In (approx. 0.2 miles away); Virginia Historical Society (approx. 0.2 miles away); Memorial Bell Tower (approx. 0.4 miles away); Stonewall Jackson (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Home for Needy Confederate Women. Virginia Heritage, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library (Submitted on April 19, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. Richmond Then and Now - The Southland's House of Memories. Confederate Home for Women Is 'Living, Breathing Shrine' Where Homage to the Mothers Of the South Never Dims, by Jack Burgess, Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 27 , 1935 (Submitted on April 19, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. Home for Needy Confederate Women (pdf file)
Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1 image. Click for full size.
4. Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1
In the 1920s and 1930s, Richmonder Margaret May Dashiell made numerous sketches of camp residents, including this scene. VMFA, Gift of Mrs. William A. Archer
. National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on April 19, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Charity & Public WorkWar, US Civil
 
Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 16, 2011
5. Residential Life at R. E. Lee Camp, No.1 Marker
Former Home for Needy Confederate Women (rear) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 16, 2011
6. Former Home for Needy Confederate Women (rear)
Now the Pauley Center at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 717 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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