Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Real Virginia Flaggers

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on July 27, 2013

RELee Camp Gettysburg 1913 720

Veterans of R. E. Lee Camp No. 1, Richmond, Virginia, at the reunion at Gettysburg, 1913. Library of Congress photo.



10 Responses

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  1. Betty Giragosian said, on July 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Wonderful picture. Thank you, Andy.

  2. Rob Baker said, on July 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

    That two sided flag looks interesting indeed.

  3. Steve Green said, on July 28, 2013 at 6:12 am

    A picture’s worth a thousand words sometimes. ” Furl the flag boys”.

    • Pam Mitcham said, on July 29, 2013 at 8:47 am

      How is the flag furled? I reference the 2 sided flag referenced above by Rob and even Andy.

  4. Billy Bearden said, on July 28, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Andy my good friend,
    Over on CivilWarTalk you erred. The Virginia State Flag is not the current, but the 1861 version.
    Notice the current Virginia State Flag is not allowed to be carried on the Chapel grounds nor is the 1861 Virginia State flag allowed to fly on lightpole standards in Lexington. Sure are a lot of folks in Virginia ashamed of the Virginia State Flag – but those brave men in 1913 and the current RVA Flaggers are not ashamed of either version.
    Nice find on the photo tho 🙂
    God Bless

  5. Bobby Edwards said, on September 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Nice find, as any photo of the members of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Veterans is a nice find. I am hopeful that there are many more out there.

    The flag story on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, and R. E. Lee Camp are part of a mixed message, because the flag pole in front of the Soldiers’ Home hospital clearly shows a battle flag being flown, but in an 1886 newspaper story, Governor Fitzhugh Lee writes that he would like to see a Confederate battle flag at the Soldiers’ Home, instead of the Union Flag.

    There are multiple Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper stories of both flags being used, in mixed reunion situations. In 1885 a check stub from Lee Camp records shows Max Mittledorfer buying a United States flag for five dollars. I would assume that it would have been used at the Lee Camp Assembly Hall on the 600 block of Broad street. However, there were two flags that I have read, which were flown on the Assembly Hall, and later in the 1880’s two flags at the Soldiers’ Home. I believe that by the 1990’s, the grounds flag at the Soldiers’ Home was the Battle flag. I know that the Mess Hall behind the Soldiers’ Home had small Union flags attached to the Post Beams to the ceiling – I have seen the photo. And, at the Chapel, there are two Union flag standards found in the design of the Belcher stained-glass mosaic windows. One of those U.S. Standards to Capt. Henderson, and the other to Major Boisseux window. The Major was the commandant for Belle Isle Prison camp in the James River – an interesting story of a Frenchman, who was a Capt. of the Richmond Grays.

    The R. E. Lee Camp had numerous meetings with a variety of Union Veteran Posts from the mid 1880’s all the way through the 1890’s, and as the G.A.R. Veterans were most friendly and at times formal, the Union Flag was part of the grounds and Lee Camp environment. From my many transcriptions of the Lee Camp, it is my belief – that there is no other situation in this country that matches the reunification or reconciliation efforts of the Lee Camp and Union Veteran Posts. Letters from General Grant weeks before he passed shows a very close relationship with the Lee Camp. On borrowed money, he had used for writing his memoirs, Grant used $500 of it to write a check to Lee Camp for the Soldiers’ Home. For clarification, members of the Soldiers’ Home could not be members of the Lee Camp, who were the ex Confederate leaders of Richmond and Virginia into the next century, providing the greatest effort of Confederate memory in the south.

    Bobby Edwards

    • Andy Hall said, on September 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      I thought you’d like that picture.

      Why did you claim recently that the VDHR “did not apply for National Status” for the Robinson House, when the very document you linked to is a VDHR application for its inclusion on the National Register of historic Places?

      • Bobby Edwards said, on July 10, 2014 at 5:10 am

        Andy, that claim is from a Commonwealth of Virginia 2012 publication, which referred to an offer from the Virginia Department of Historical Resources trying to arrange a meeting with the director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, to make a presentation for Landmark National Status for the Soldiers’ Home. The comment in that official publication, as reported by VDHR indicated that the Director of the VMFA refused to hear the presentation. Source – Commonwealth of Virginia Status Report of Historic Properties.

        According to personnel from the VMFA, maintenance division, the Director in a childish effort had the flag holders ripped off of the Chapel, and when discovered that the bare paint behind the holders revealed the original paint, had asked one of the maintenance personnel to re-layer the paint on top of the original, so that it could not be detected. Childish and Prankish behavior, such as Barricading the entrance to the Chapel with Fencing (not needed) and prevented scheduled events from being held. To add insult to injury, workers port-a-potty toilets were place in front of the entrance area, with massive heaps of dirt and gravel. The good people who work at the Museum have often confessed the odd and bizarre behavior of the Director, and his animus towards the historical presence of the Chapel.

        The R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Veterans last Commander of the Camp participated in the transfer of land to the Virginia Arts Association, as Governor Pollard tried to grant the land to the Arts Association first without the approval of the Camp, and the Attorney General of Virginia explained to the Governor that the 1892 ACTS of the General Assembly would prevent that from happening. Then the Governor appealed to the Commander, Wm McK. Evans (William McKendree Evans) to make the transfer, and in agreeing to do so, the Commander obtained legislated benefits to Create the ‘R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Memorial Park’. The 1933 legislative efforts to create two Boards and ACTS – one for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to house the Barton Payne Art Collection, which had been housed in the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. Gallery at the Confederate Memorial Institute (Battle Abbey) for about 12 years. And, would be housed at the Lee Gallery until 1936 – when the VMFA was opened, with a 100 foot flag pole, flying the Confederate battle flag in front, obviously as part of the duality of the VMFA & the ‘R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 Confederate Memorial Park’.

        Part of the legislated deal, the deal with the Governor, and the comments written on the deed of transfer – restricted the Museum to covenants and restrictions. The 1933 vision was to have the United Daughters of the Confederacy be responsible for the historical interpretation of the Soldiers’ Home Grounds, as a Deed was also presented to the Virginia Division of the U.D.C. transferring to their custody the famed Art Collection of over 165 historic Confederate paintings and photographs – presented to the R. E. Lee Camp over an extended period of time. A 1919 inventory was taken by the Lee Camp, and a copy of that is now available on the web. Other items, museum pieces, and properties from the Soldiers’ Home, and R. E. Lee Camp Assembly Hall on Broad street were donated to the Daughters.

        Those items have been either placed in the care of the Virginia Historical Society, in a special R. E. Lee Camp collection, located at the National H.Q., or placed in the U.D.C. Warren Rifles Museum. Much of the items left behind at the Robinson House were rounded up by VMFA officials, and may be in their custody, or according to verbal histories from past Camp Commander Bill Mountjoy (Lt. Mountjoy of Mosby’s men) – items were taken to the dump and recovered by a friend of Bills. A similar story from historian Ed Willis mentioned something similar. Currently missing, however reported at the VMFA was a R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. Soldiers’ Home plaque – hung on the Stone Walls of the Soldiers’ Home entrance. Of concern of mine, that historic artifacts from the Soldiers’ Home, held in trust by either Museum officials or others, has found their way to the Historic Artifacts market.

        If you research the history of the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V., you will find numerous meetings with Union G.A.R. Posts, often responding to requests from all over the country. Communications by the Union G.A.R. posts, began when a presentation by General John B. Gordon and Lee Camp Adjutant, Arthur A. Spitzer made a presentation at Cooper’s Union in New York City about the plans of the Soldiers’ Home, and the Southern Confederate Soldiers’ Home was then endorsed by General Grant, and promoted in the G.A.R. Publications. Fund raising occurred in major cities in the North, and across the Country. Grant, living on borrowed money and writing his memoirs, gave a check for $500 to promote the Soldiers’ Home. The R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. then became the Conduit for a flow of requests for meetings, opinions, and requests for historical feedback. All of these communications done in the most professional of responses. With the Lee Camp and Union G.A.R. the volume of communications, meetings, and understanding of the Amelioration of North / South was part of this Nation’s Healing Effort of the two different armies.

        The Museum was given a tremendous gift by the R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V., and they have the opportunity to advantage Americans of that unique history that the Camp had in Ameliorating the harsh feelings of the Veterans of the Country. In the photo here of the Lee Camp Veterans – You see the American Flag, and the Meetings when G.A.R. vets were invited to Lee Camp Assembly Hall on Broad Street were numerous. On the Grounds of the Soldiers’ Home – a Unique Opportunity to Show America Coming Together, with a Unique Display of a Variety of Flags, as Union vets contributed to the Home, and the grounds flew both Confederate and Union Flags. The Museums Failure to Properly Interpret the Historical nature, and a refusal to allow Confederate Images on the Grounds – Short Sighted on their Part, and a Very Ugly Response for the Camp that Gave the VMFA their Opportunity in Virginia.

    • Bill Mountjoy said, on July 6, 2015 at 10:33 am

      The R. E. Lee Camp No. 1 C.V. Soldiers’ Home plaque – hung on the Stone Walls of the Soldiers’ Home entrance. It is now in possession of the VMFA (one Stephen Bonadies of the VMFA took possession of it in 2010 – contact HIM if you have questions about it).

      I have a PHOTO of it.

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