The Confederate Soldiers Home in Richmond was established after the Civil War through the efforts of the Robert E. Lee Camp #1 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and others, including a letter of endorsement from an ailing ex-president U. S. Grant. According to the society’s website, “On April 18, 1883 a group of concerned Confederate Veterans met in Richmond, Virginia, to form the Camp Lee Soldiers’ Home (also called Confederate Soldiers’ Home, Confederate Veterans Soldiers’ Home, R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home, Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home, or Old Soldiers’ Home) as a benevolent society to aid their needy former comrades. The Robert E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans was incorporated March 13, 1884. In the year that followed, the camp raised funds and acquired land in Western Richmond for a home. The Home opened on January 1, 1885, and it was located in the corner of Grove Ave. and the Boulevard in Richmond, Virginia. Plagued by financial difficulties, they sought money from the state. In 1886, the General Assembly authorized a small annual appropriation which was increased in 1892 in return for the deed to the property. The home was under the Dept. of Public Welfare until it closed in 1941, upon the death of the last resident.”
Here are some more photos of the diorama, which is located in one of the two surviving buildings, the Confederate War Memorial Chapel (also known as the Pelham Chapel). The other building is the Robinson Building. The rest of the old soldiers home is gone, and now the Virginia Fine Arts Museum and the Virginia Historical Society sit on the old site.
Hundreds of soldiers lived and died here. The cottages were built with public and private donations. One cottage of particular interest to me was the General William Smith Memorial Cottage, funded by two of Extra Billy Smith’s surviving children.
The chapel (to the left) hosted hundreds of funerals of Confederate veterans in the early 1900s.
A modern view by Bobby Edwards of the meticulously maintained Confederate War Memorial Chapel in Richmond, Virginia.
The Robinson House is depicted in miniature in the center of this photograph (it’s the 3-story white building with the observation cupola.