Confederate Winter Camps

Confederate Winter Camps (HMAGP)

Location: Woodbridge, VA 22191 Prince William County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 36.445', W 77° 17.68'

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Fighting Boredom and Disease

After the Confederate victory at Ball's Bluff in October 1861, the Union and Confederate armies settled into winter camps between Washington and Richmond. Confederate forces withdrew from Fairfax County to Prince William County and defended a line from Manassas to Quantico. Batteries on the Potomac River blockaded shipping to Washington. Many units constructed log huts with clapboard roofs for their winter quarters in the Neabsco and Quantico Creek area.

Gen. John Bell Hood's Texas Brigade constructed its winter camp, Camp Wigfall, here late in the summer of 1861. When not on picket duty, the men cooked and cleaned the camp. For amusement, they played cards, foraged, and visited brigade sutlers or friends and relatives at nearby camps. They also built The Lone Star Theater for the newly formed Hood's Minstrels, a group of actors, brass band, and choir. The theater was popular and featured performances by banjoist Sam Sweeney and "The Bonnie Blue Flag" lyricist Harry McCarty.

Unsanitary conditions and crowding in the camps contributed to outbreaks of measles, dysentery, diarrhea, and typhoid fever, causing more deaths than by combat. Most soldiers were from far away in the Deep South and relied on local citizens for care while the army doctors struggled to control the epidemics.

Early in March 1862, the Confederates withdrew closer to Richmond. They took what supplies they could, but bad roads, not enough wagons and their hurried departure forced them to destroy provisions and munitions. Federal troops later occupied some of the camps, but most soon disappeared.

"Our losses in the winter of 1861 from sickness and exposure, incident to camp life were very heavy. I had the measles; had a relapse and developed a case of typhoid-pneumonia, and my fate was uncertain for about six weeks. For ten or twelve days I did not eat a mouthful of anything." -Pvt. James M. Polk, 4th Texas Infantry
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 9:45am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 300195 N 4275709
Decimal Degrees38.60741667, -77.29466667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 36.445', W 77° 17.68'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 36' 26.70" N, 77° 17' 40.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 15935-15943 Donald Curtis Dr, Woodbridge VA 22191, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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