Richmond Whig, 8/12/1862

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From the Richmond Whig, 8/12/1862, p. 2, c. 1

CAMP LEE. – We paid a brief visit to Camp Lee, (the Hermitage Fair Grounds near Richmond,) a few days ago. The place is sadly altered since it was appropriated to the exclusive use of agricultural exhibitions, but it is in much better plight than could be expected, under the circumstances. The commandant of the post, Col. John C. Shields, has provided, as far as it was possible to do so, against the defacement of the place, but as the purposes for which it is now used are of the practical rather than ornamental order, there has been but little margin for any observance or display of picturesqueness.

Col. Shield’s “headquarters” are in the isolated building known, in agricultural times, as the “President’s Office.” The business room is on the lower floor; the dormitory up stairs. During our stay, he was plied with questions about substitutes, furloughs, etc., and seems to have his hands full. His Adjutant is Lt. James H. Binford.

The long building beyond the headquarters is occupied by quartermasters, surgeons, drill masters, etc. – In front of this building is an enclosed space, in which the officers seek recreation, in the “cool of the evening” by playing games with marbles.

The new exhibition hall and the “horticultural hall” are both used as hospitals, and contain a large number of patients. We hope that they are not overlooked by those benevolent people who attend to the distribution of delicacies for the sick. The spiritual welfare of the patients is not neglected. In passing the first mentioned building, we heard the voice of supplication to the Throne of Grace, and observed a minister in the attitude of prayer, many of the patients also kneeling at their couches. Religious services are held on the lawn east of this hospital every Sunday afternoon – conducted by Rev. Dr. M. D. Hoge.

A number of tents occupied by artillery companies, conscripts, and exchanged prisoners are scattered over the grounds. The men generally lead an idle life – the exception being the artillerists who are drilled every day, in practical gunnery. A gymnasium of some sort, with regular hours for training and exercise would not be an unprofitable acquisition.

A pool for bathing purposes is very much needed at Camp Lee. The men now repair to a shallow creek in the vicinity, but it is doubtful if their ablutions in that stream are productive of cleanliness.