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Genesis of Camp Lee proper.

Hon. Judah P. Benjamin was then acting Secretary of War. The late General George W. Randolph, who had been major of the Howitzer Battalion, was then in command of a brigade at Suffolk. He, with General Dimmock, were trained and finely equipped artillery officers. Mr. Benjamin, at the suggestion of General Winder, consulted with Generals Dimmock and Randolph as to the best course to pursue with the artillery companies then here, and about the thirty to forty more to come in from several other States. The result was that an order was issued for the formation of an artillery headquarters, and that Captain John C. Shields, then serving at Leesburg with his battery, the First Howitzers, should be promoted and assigned to the command of the camp of artillery instruction.

At that time there were still some infantry reporting at Camp Lee for regimental organization, notably the 56th Regiment, which was the last to complete its formation at that place.

In the mean time Colonel Shields established his artillery camp at a fine spring on the farm of the late John N. Shields, of Richmond, where he commenced his work. Troops had been at that location previously and it was known as ‘Camp Jackson.’ Knowing that the artillery camp would soon be changed to Camp Lee, where were stores and staff officers, a temporary organization sufficed at Camp Jackson.

On taking command at Camp Lee, December, 1861, Colonel Shields found Dr. Memminger, surgeon; Major John C. Maynard, quartermaster; Captain D. C. Meade, commissary; Lieutenant West, of Georgia, adjutant, and Rev. Dr. M. D. Hoge, chaplain.

Companies reported very rapidly for instruction and equipment till about July, 1862, the conscription law having taken the place of replenishing the army by the assignment of those liable to service under that law.


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