Confederate War Memorial Chapel

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Confederate Memorial Chapel, Richmond


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The R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Meets and Forms To Protect Homeless Confederate Soldiers

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Part of the 36 Acre Campus of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Soldiers' Home and Grounds that serviced Old and Disabled Confederate Veterans from around the South. Today, the Grounds are Home for the Virginia Historical Society, Battle Abbey, UDC, VMFA, and the "Confederate War Memorial Chapel"


"The Origin and History of This Noble Institution"

(From the Richmond Dispatch, November 27, 1892)

     In none of her monuments erected since the war, more than in Lee Camp Soldiers' Home, does Virginia teach the reverence she bears those who stood by her in her hour of sorest trial.  None of her monuments speak more eloquently of the cause for which so many of the flower of the South laid down their lives ; none of them appeal more powerfully to the generation now upon the stage to cherish the memory of the deeds and sacrifices of their fathers.

     The Home is now in better condition financially and in respect of accommodations than it has been since its establishment, and to-day is fulfilling its noble mission more thoroughly than it has ever done.  But that is not saying that it is compassing its sphere of possible usefulness.  The calculation is that within the next quarter of a century most of the youngest of those who served in the Confederate army will have answered the last roll-call and grounded their arms in the citadel of graves.  Yet within the next ten or twelve years the numbers whom exposure and wounds will have incapacitated for work will materially increase, and it follows that any further donations to, or enlargement of the facilities of the Home would be in the line of patriotic duty.


      The inception of the Home and the inception of Lee Camp Confederate Veterans are coeval and their histories run parallel.  In March, 1883, seven gentlemen met in this city and informally talked over the matter of raising funds to support a few disabled Confederate veterans whose condition had been brought to their attention.  They decided to put an advertisement in the city papers calling upon all Confederate veterans who felt an interest in the matter to assemble on April the 18th following.  To this call thirty-eight men responded, and then and there organized Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans.  The purpose for which the camp was organized was to take care of needy ex-Confederate soldiers, and no time was lost in giving this purpose practical shape.  Captain Charles U. Williams was elected First Commander of the Camp.

     In May, 1883, a bazaar was held in the armory with Mrs. Lewis N. Webb as manager, assisted by about one hundred other ladies, and Colonel H.C. Jones, N.V. Randolph and Colonel  J.B. Purcell as a committee from the Camp.  this enterprise was kept open for nineteen nights and netted $24,0000.


     On the 12th of November, 1884, the Home property, consisting of thirty-six acres and an old house, was purchased for $14,000, and on January 1, 1885, the institution was opened, the first inmate being a Mississippi man.

     Soon thereafter Mr. Robert I. Fleming, of Washington, at a cost of $2,500, enlarged, improved and remodelled the building on the grounds, and gradually handsome and commodious cottages were built and donated to the Home by Major Lewis Ginter, Hon. W. W. Corcoran, of Washington, Captain A. G. Babcock, Mr. Mark Downey, Mr. James B. Pace, Mr. W. H. Appleton, of New York, and the children of ex-Governor William Smith.  In 1888 the board raised by private subscription from the people of Richmond about $5,000, with which they built and furnished the picturesque and handsome Home Chapel.  The additional buildings erected by the board, including the mess hall, stable, &c., and the hospital, which last-named was completed this year, cost $35,000.


     The Soldiers' Home is one of the most attractive places about Richmond, and in the summer it is a favorite drive.  Located in a grove of original growth, it is, from the road, the picture of restfulness and peace.  The cottages and chapel are to the left of the main building as one approaches, and the new hospital to the right, and everything is as neat as a pin.  On a nearer inspection, however, the frowning guns upon the lawn and the maimed and battle-scarred veterans carry one back to anything but a scene of peace.  Many of the inmates are totally disabled for work of any sort, and all they can do is to fight their battles over.  They staked all on the South's great issue and lost all save life.  Those who are able to perform physical labor police the grounds and wait upon the sick in the hospital.  The entire premises are regularly inspected twice a week.

     Since the establishment of the Home it has cared for 484 veterans.  In addition to Virginians there have been on the rolls:  From New Jersey, 1;  South Carolina, 7;  Georgia, 2;  West Virginia, 5;  District of Columbia, 2;  Maryland, 3;  North Carolina, 5;  Florida, 1;  Alabama, 1;  Tennessee, 1;  Texas, 1, and Mississippi, 1.  As may well be imagined, the number of deaths in proportion to the inmates has been very large.


     The affairs of the Home are administered by a Board of Visitors elected by Lee Camp, to which are added the Governor, the State Treasurer, the Auditor of Public Accounts and the Judge of the Circuit Court of Richmond.  The first president of the board was Captain Charles U. Williams, and the first Executive Committee consisted of N. V. Randolph, Colonel J. B. Purcell, and Colonel Henry C. Jones.  Captain Williams resigned after serving about a year, and General Fitzhugh Lee succeeded him.  General Lee retired about a year before his term as Governor expired, was succeeded by General John R. Cooke, who served until the time of his death, and the next president was Mr. N. V. Randolph, the incumbent.

     The present board is as follows:  Major N. V. Randolph, president; Lieutenant-Colonel A. L. Phillips, first vice-president;  Major T. A. Brander, second vice-president;  James B. Pace (president Planters National Bank), treasurer;  Captain J. W. Pegram, secretarty;  Governor P. W. McKinney, A. W. Harman, Colonel Morton Marye, Judge Beverley R. Wellford, Colonel H. C. Jones, General W. H. Payne, Joseph W. Thomas, Colonel Archer Anderson, Major Lewis Ginter, Captain John Maxwell, Joseph B. McKenney, Judge E. C. Minor, Colonel John Murphy, Colonel J. W. White, James T. Gray, Colonel E. P. Reeve, Colonel Hugh R. Smith, Major W.A. Smoot, Captain Washington Taylor, Colonel J. H. Hume, Portsmouth; Colonel D. M. Lee, Fredericksburg;  Captain R. M. Booker, Hampton, Virginia ; Colonel Alexander W. Archer.

     Executive Committee:  Major T. A. Brander, Colonel John Murphy, Joseph W. Thomas.


     For some months after the opening of the Home the direct executive office was Captain James Pollard, the present adjutant.  In the latter part of 1885 General William R. Terry was elected superintendent, and has held that position ever since, but on the 8th of November, 1892, owing to physical infirmities resulting from wounds received during the war, tendered his resignation, to take effect January 1st next.  General Terry was one of the most gallant officers in the Confederate army.  He was born in Liberty, Virginia, in 1827 and educated at the Virginia Military Institute.  At the breaking out of the war he entered the service as captain of cavalry, but was soon thereafter promoted to the colonelcy of the Twenty-fourth Virginia regiment.  In May, 1864, he was made a brigadier-general and was assigned to the command of Kemper's brigade, the former commander having been desperately and permanently disabled at Gettysburg.


     For the first two years of its existence the Home was supported entirely by voluntary contributions and such funds as the board could beg.  Then the State came to the relief of the institution, and up to February 12, 1892, the board had received from the source $60,000.

     In March last the Legislature passed a bill would appropriate to the Home $150 a year for each inmate for a period not exceeding twenty-two years, no annual appropriation to exceed $30,000, and that at the end of the twenty-two years the State was to take possession of the property under a deed from Lee Camp.  This arrangement afforded greatly-needed financial relief, and enabled the Home to increase the number of its inmates.  Yet, as above stated, there is still a wider field before it if the hands of the board are upheld by further substantial aid.

     The labor of those who have managed its affairs has been truly a labor of love and of patriotism, in which, in season and out of season, they have made sacrifices of time and money.  Owing to a mistake in the bill above referred to the Home was entirely without revenue for three months and had to incur a debt of $4,000.

     GO To This LINK:

  • 18 April 1883

An ACT To Incorporate R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans.

CHAPTER  416. --An ACT to incorporate R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans.

Approved March 13, 1884

Whereas an association of Confederate Veterans has been organized in the city of Richmond, under the title of R. E. Lee Camp, number one, Confederate Veterans, the object of which is declared in the by-laws of the association to be "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 battle-field.  It is proposed not to prolong the animosities engendered by the war, but 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.  We propose to avoid everything which partakes of partizanship in religion and politics, but at the same time we will lend our aid to the maintenance of law and the preservation of order;"  and whereas the said association have asked at the hands of the general assembly a charter of incorporation;  therefore,

1. Be it enacted by the general assembly of Virginia, That the officers and members of R. E. Lee Camp, number one, Confederate Veterans, be and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate by that name.

2.  That the said corporation may have a corporate seal, may sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, may pass by-laws not inconsistent with law.

3.  Said association may acquire title to and hold land for the purpose of founding a home for invalid and infirm Confederate soldiers, or for the education and maintenance of the children of invalid and infirm or deceased Confederate soldiers:  provided that the said association shall not hold at any time more than five hundred acres of land.

4.  Said association shall have the right to receive donations from states, societies, corporations and individuals, and may from said associations, or from other similar associations, or from the citizens generally, select a board of visitors, who shall control such institution or institutions when founded:  provided that in the event of aid being given by this state, that the board of public works, and the judge of the circuit court of the city of Richmond, shall be visitors on the part of the state.

5.  Said association may confer upon other similar organizations the right to operate under this charter.

6.  This act shall be in force from its passage.

Note:  For a More Detailed Study and Evaluation of the R. E. LEE CAMP No. 1 Soldiers' Home, and the Project to Protect Battle Worn Homeless Confederate Men click on the more detailed Web Site

  • Richmond, Virginia
  • March 13, 1884

Confederate War Memorial Chapel

As the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Soldiers' Home in Richmond, Virginia grew from Confederate Soldiers from around the South, those wounded and battle torn Confederate Veterans yearned for a Chapel to nourish their Spiritual Needs.  Although impoverished and homeless and without financial resources when they entered the Soldiers' Home, they were Confederates and used to the resourcefulness and creativity that made them a formidible fighting force. 

Pooling their limited financial resources and getting involved in fund-raising projects, these Confederate Veterans would soon have enough money to build a Chapel.  One of Virginia's great architects, Marion J. Dimmock a designer of Churches and Government Buildings would be commissioned to design a Church for the Veterans.  Marion Johnson Dimmock was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1824 and moved to Richmond in 1833. He served in the Confederate Army, attaining the rank of captain. He became one of the most prolific Virginia architects in the period 1870-1900. Among his more prominent commissions during this period were the Confederate Memorial Chapel (1887), a hotel in Elkton, Virginia (1890), Richmond Chamber of Commerce Building (1891-1892), Mortuary Chapel in Hollywood Cemetery (1897-1898), and an addition to the State Library Building (Dimmock & Lee, 1908).

Marion Johnson Dimmock was from Richmond, Virginia, and his father General Charles Dimmock would command the defense of Richmond.  Marion's brother Charles H. Dimmock would plan the defense of Petersburg with the Engineering Design of the well known Dimmock Line that surrounded the City of Petersburg.  That formidable design and construction of the Dimmock Defensive Line around Petersburg would allow R. E. Lee to substantially defend Petersburg.  The Dimmock family has been traced all the way back to Alfred the Great, according to one source.  The Dimmock design of the Chapel would carry with it the beauty and inspiration to inspire the Confederate Veterans, who sought spiritual inspiration. 

A Gothic Revival design was selected, plans drawn, and contributions raised for the stained glass windows. Joseph F. Wingfield, Contractor was selected to build the Chapel, and May 08th, 1887 the Chapel was opened to service the Veterans.  It became a meeting place, a spiritual retreat for prayer, a Sunday place for worship, and when the Confederate Soldier passed, it became the place where the "Last Roll Call" was held.  During the time, when the Chapel was opened in 1887, until when the last Confederate Veteran passed in 1941, more than 1,700 Confederate War Veterans would have their "Last Roll Call" at the Chapel.  The Chapel was designed as a "War Memorial to the 260,000+ Confederate Soldiers, who paid the ultimate price in the service to their Country.

The Confederate Memorial Chapel has been listed as a National Historic Landmark and an Official War Memorial. It remains as perhaps the only "Official War Memorial" dedicated to All of the Confederate Soldiers who were casualties in the War Between The States.  And, like the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, this Confederate War Memorial Chapel was built with funds raised from the Veterans themselves.  Today, this Confederate War Memorial Chapel, the Soldiers' Home, and the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1,  are Interperted by the Lee-Jackson Camp No. 1, the  descendent of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 - Soldiers' Home.  The Admission is Free, and the Chapel is open from 11:00 to 3:00 from Wednesday through Sunday.

This Confederate Memorial Chapel is one of  the last visible signs of a Confederate presence in Richmond,  with it's "War Memorial to All 260,00 Confederate Soldiers" and its St. Andrews Battle Flags that Fly on the Front Porch.    The beauty of the memorial, the history of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 with the Confederate Veterans  - the first Camp formed, the formation of a Confederate Soldiers' Home, the affiliation with the Monuments on Monument Ave, the affiliation and Contributions to the Confederate Memorial Institute (Battle Abbey) - Now the Virginia Historical Society, the relationship with the UDC "United Daughters of Confederacy", their Involvement with the "Home for Needy Confederate Women", and the Sale of Land to the VMFA Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, makes the history worthy of investigation.  This Historic Area of Richmond, once the grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Soldier's Home will Always be Important to the History of Richmond, Virginia, and the People of the South. 

The R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Camp Grounds of the Soldiers' Home are being Swallowed up by large Rock Gardens, Jumping Rabbits, and Twisted Bronze Sculptures of Impressions of Art.  With the 150 year Sesquicentennial and memories of the War Between the States drawing Thousands to Virginia and Richmond, it's the duty of all Southerner's, who visit Richmond, to Visit the Confederate War Memorial Chapel.  Come See where the Veterans Worshiped, in a Chapel they built, see the Soldiers' Home Layout, and hear the Stories of  the Soldiers of Stonewall Jackson, R. E. Lee, and J.E.B. Stuart in their Last Days.  "Lest We Forget".

To keep the Confederate Memorial Chapel open to the Public, a Non-Profit Association was formed: "Friends of The Confederate War Memorial Chapel Association". If you would like to help promote the Heritage of this Confederate Memorial Chapel, you can become a Member  or a "Friend of the Chapel" by sending your donation to:

"Friends Of The Confederate War Memorial Chapel Association"
P.O. Box 71256
Richmond, VA 23255-1256

For More on the Confederate War Memorial Chapel, Stories, Photos, Etc and Information on the R.E. Lee Camp No. 1 Soldiers' Home - Click on the Below Link


  • Richmond, Virginia
  • 8 MAY 1887

Letter from R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 to Va. Senate, Locating Battle Abbey on Soldiers' Home Grounds

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January 1910, the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 sent a letter to the Virginia Senate President indicating that it would be fitting to place the Battle Abbey on the grounds of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Soldiers' Home. The R. E. Lee Camp would also maintain contact with Charles "Broadway" Rouss for financial support.
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     The President laid before the Senate the following communication:


Lieutenant-Governor J. Taylor Ellyson
                    President of the Senate of Virginia.

      I have the honor to transmit to you the enclosed resolution, adopted by

R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, C. V., January 14, 1910.
      By order of Commander W. J. Archer.
                               I am very respectfully,
                                                         J. TAYLOR STRATTON,

      Whereas, R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, C. V., believing that the Battle Abbey should be located on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home; therefore,

      Be it resolved, That His Excellency, the Governor of Virginia, be, and he is hereby, requested to recommend to the Legislature of Virginia to tender to the Confederate Memorial Association a site for the location for the said Battle Abbey on the Soldiers' Home property, at any point north of where Stuart Avenue would intersect said property;  that is, between Stuart Avenue and Kensington Street, and that a committee of three be appointed to present this memorial to the Governor, and that a copy be sent to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates of Virginia.

      Adopted by R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, C. V., January 14, 1910.
      Copy from the record.
                      Attest:                                     J. TAYLOR STRATTON,

For More on Lee Camp and Confederate War Memorial Chapel - Click on Above Link.                            

  • Richmond, Virginia - Soldiers' Home Grounds
  • 14 January 1910

The Battle Abbey of The South, UCV Gen J.S. Carr - A Report at Chattanooga Convention


[Pvt. Julian S. Carr - Co K, 3rd North Carolina Cavalry - 41st Regt NC Troops]


As president of the Board of Trustees of the Confederate Memorial Institute, it is my pleasure and privilege to announce to you and our comrades assembled in convention at Chattanooga, Tenn., the completion in all respects of the Confederate Memorial Institute, commonly known as the "Battle Abbey," located at Richmond, Va. Whilst there have been many delays in this great work since it was first projected twenty-five years ago by our generous and patriotic comrade, the late Charles Broadway Rouss, of Winchester, Va., a gallant private of the Army of Northern Virginia (3rd Virginia Cavalry), yet these causes of delay have been unavoidable, and the reasons for them have been fully set forth in a sketch entitled "The Origin and Erection of the Confederate Memorial Institute," prepared by Hon. George L. Christian, vice president, and for nearly twenty years, the treasurer and a trustee of the Confederate Memorial Institute Corporation. This pamphlet, which I refer to and desire shall be read as a part of this report, is a complete history of the origin and erection of this noble memorial, and can be obtained from the custodian of the Institute at Richmond, Va., at the small cost of twenty-five cents per copy. I suggest that all who are interested in the history of this building and of its contents will be fully repaid by a perusal of this pamphlet.

This memorial building was finally completed and opened to the public on October 5, 1921. The ceremonies incident to this opening were simple, but appropriate in all respects. These ceremonies took place in the hall of the annex, in which hang at least one hundred and fifty portraits of noted Confederate soldiers and civilians, and consisted of introductory remarks made by the Hon. John Lamb, superintendent, followed by addresses made by Rev. H. M. Wharton, a native of Virginia, but now a resident of Baltimore, Md., and a member of your Board of Trustees, and your president. Two rooms of the memorial building had been previously thrown open to the public; one of these rooms containing the Hoffbaur paintings and the other what are known as the Payne paintings.

These rooms were opened to the public May 3, 1921, when a very fine and appropriate address was delivered by Hon. H. Snowden Marshall, formerly of Baltimore, but now a member of the New York bar, and a son of the late Col. Charles Marshall of General Lee's staff. During the short period since the first opening of the building to the public, it may be safely asserted that between six and seven thousand people have visited these grounds and buildings, and the universal verdict of each and all of these, as far as we have heard, is that this memorial is beautiful in all respects and a lasting and fitting tribute to the Confederate cause and its gallant and glorious defenders.

Miss Hildegarde Hawthorne, a daughter of the author of "The Scarlet Letter," has within the last few years visited most if not all of the principal cities of this country and Europe. She has quite recently published a book entitled "Rambles in Old College Towns," and she says that of all the cities she has visited only two have the real charm to make them attractive — namely: Paris, France, and Richmond, Va. This is a Northern lady, and it may be, therefore, safely asserted that her admiration was not engendered by feelings of local or patriotic sentiments. Richmond is the Mecca of the South, and whilst it has produced many noted men and women and has in it numerous historic and noted places, yet I think it can be said that our Confederate Memorial Institute, known as the "Battle Abbey," and the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, located in the White House of the Confederacy, are universally deemed the most charming and in all respects the most noted and attractive places in Richmond.

The " Battle Abbey," as stated in Judge Christian's pamphlet, is located on the principal and most popular drive in the city and in the very center of its growth and progress. It consists of six and one-third acres of ground, beautifully laid out and adorned with trees, plants, and shrubbery, and has in it "a court of honor" designed to have statues of the distinguished soldiers and sailors of the several Southern States. These statues, to quote from Judge Christian's pamphlet, will be "in sight of beautiful Monument Avenue, on which has already been erected monuments to President Davis, Generals Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and J. E. B. Stuart, and in easy reach of the monuments to the private soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy, Generals A. P. Hill, Wickham, and William Smith; those of Joseph Bryan, Dr. Hunter McGuire, and the Howitzer monument, and the splendid group with Washington at their head, surrounded by Henry, Jefferson, Marshall, Nelson, and Lewis, the heroes and statesmen of the Revolution; and another statue of Stonewall Jackson, contributed by Englishmen in testimony of their admiration for his genius, character, and achievements.

All of these monuments adorn the streets and parks of the late capital of the Confederacy, and it is our earnest desire that statues of the heroes and statesmen of the States of the Confederacy shall also adorn the park in which is located our finest and best memorial, situated in the city which was the capital and citadel of our storm-cradled and beloved Confederacy." In Judge Christian's pamphlet he also makes this appeal, in which I most cordially unite.' He says: "Our appeal is then to each and every one of the States comprising the Confederacy, that they will appropriate at least the sum of $10, 000 to secure statues of their most distinguished sons, and to create an endowment fund for this memorial, and in doing this render lasting, although tardy, justice to the men and women of the South who did and dared so much in defense of the cause which President Davis defines to be the 'rights of our sires won in the War of the Revolution, the State sovereignty, freedom and independence bequeathed by them to us, their and our children forever'; and of whose deeds a distinguished son of Massachusetts has already written: 'Such splendid character and achievements were not all in vain, for although the Confederacy fell as an actual, physical power, it still lives eternally in its just cause, the cause of constitutional liberty.'

" It is not improper to add that the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has recently met in Richmond, and, of course, the members were invited to visit this memorial, and each and every one of them was perfectly charmed with the building and its contents. I also wish to add that the members of the Executive Committee residing in Richmond — namely, Hon. George L. Christian, John Lamb, and Mr. Alvin H. Smith — and the members of the Board of Lady Managers, all of whom reside in Richmond, have, without exception, been most earnest and efficient in carrying on and completing the work of this memorial, and all of these have contributed their time and labors without any compensation or hope of reward except that which comes to those engaged in real labors of love. Judge John Barton Payne has been most generous in contributing to the adornment and furnishing of the room in which the paintings given by him to the State of Virginia are located, and two members of the Board of Lady Managers, whose names are withheld at their request, have also, at their own expense, furnished the beautiful benches which adorn the room in which are the Hoffbaur paintings. Lee Camp has contributed the furnishings and the artistic arrangement on the walls of the annex of its splendid collection of portraits of some of the heroes and statesmen of the Confederacy. I think it can be asserted, without any fear of contradiction, that this contribution from Lee Camp will make the room in which these portraits are hung the most attractive of all places, not only to Confederate sympathizers and their descendants, but one that is unique in all respects, and probably the only portrait gallery of Confederates in the world. I cannot exaggerate the debt of gratitude we owe to Lee Camp for its contributions to this memorial building. The report of the treasurer will show the expenditures incurred in building and furnishing the annex and the present financial condition of the Association.          (More on LEE Camp)


Note:  Julian Shakespeare Carr would bring a financially destitute Methodist School from Randolph County, N.C. to Durham and place it on his property.  Carr would Nurture It's Survival with Financial Support and Business Guidance.  That Methodist College, Trinity Methodist, would later become Duke University, as Carr and Duke would partner to Fund its existence and  viability. 

  • Richmond, Virginia - Confederate Memorial Institute
  • 10 October 1921

Contributor: 3rdNCCavalry
Created: March 16, 2010 · Modified: May 13, 2016

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