Robert E. Lee Soldiers Home Richmond, Virginia
On April 18, 1883, a group of concerned Confederate Veterans met in Richmond, Virginia, to form the Camp Lee Soldiers' Home. 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 36 acre 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. The home closed in 1941, upon the death of the last resident.
R. E. Lee Camp in front of Fleming Hall
Within the first year of the Home’s founding, Lee Camp explored options for the compound’s signature building, including the possibility of destroying Robinson House and erecting an expensive new one. The question was resolved in 1886 when architect Robert I. Fleming of Washington, D. C., came forward with a $2,500 donation and building plans for renovating the old brick residence. The Goochland County native, who served with distinction in the Confederate Army, trained in the Richmond City Engineer’s office in the immediate postwar years. After relocating to Washington in 1867, he steadily gained renown as a designer and builder of high-style Victorian residences and institutions. A founding member of the Confederate Veterans Association in Washington, Fleming also raised money in that city on behalf of the Soldiers’ Home in Richmond for which Lee Camp rewarded him with a special gold membership badge. In May 1886, as construction on the new third floor addition to Robinson House was underway, Fleming hosted Lee Camp members at the National Hotel in Washington, where he introduced each one to President Grover Cleveland. On July 29, the “Fleming addition” was dedicated with a ceremonial handing over of keys by Fleming to Governor Fitzhugh Lee, the former Confederate General who was then serving as president of the Soldiers’ Home Board of Visitors. At that point, the old Robinson residence took on a new name: Fleming Hall. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts change the name back to the Robinson House and moved it about 200 feet in 2012.
Colonel Robert Isaac Fleming
Born Goochland County, VA. January 15, 1842
Died Washington D. C. 1906
Fleming enlisted on April 25, 1861, with the Richmond Layette Artillery as a Private. He was first promoted to Corporal, then Sergeant, next as Sergeant Major on the battlefield at Suffolk, Virginia.
He was promoted to Lieutenant on the battlefield of Cold Harbor, Virginia June 3, 1864, for gallant and meritorious conduct.
In August of 1864, was detailed to command Bogg’s Battalion of four companies of artillery. After the death of General Gracie, of Alabama, commanding the brigade to which Bogg’s Battalion was attached, Fleming returned to his old battery Fayette Artillery.
During the retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox Court House he was selected by General Lee to command ‘Forlorn Hope’ and to bring up the rear of the army after the battle of sailor’s creek, Va., and to retard the progress of general grant’s advance, in order that General Lee might have time to cross his army over the Hight Bridge. His battery, being cut off by General Sherman’s troops from the main army, he had to forced his way through to Lynchburg, Virginia, where the guns were spiked and the carriages and caissons destroyed. The battery disbanded after the surrender of General Lee. He returning home to Richmond, Virginia, surrendered April 18, 1865, and was paroled.
The History of the Union Cottage
Mr. Ernest Cheatham Meyers (In the Photo 1935)
Paid $60.00 for the Union Cottage.
The Union Cottage was move to 2715 East Rock Blvd.
Chesterfield county (Photo 1936)
The Union Cottage in its last days. Cottage had been condemned and was do to be demo any day. A bulldozer was sitting on the property, so I Called the real estate company and ask if I could go in the house and retrieve the fireplace mantle. I explain the house history and that there was a story about Confederate Veterans carving their names in the mantle. That was my last visit to the house (April 2009)
The Union Cottage had previously been the home of Confederate Veterans at the R. E. Lee Soldiers Home in Richmond, Virginia the cottage was one of several which housed the old confederate soldiers.
Milton Burke, nephew of Camilla Meyers, lived nearby the old soldiers home. He heard of the plans to tear down the old Stonewall Cottage and called his aunt Camilla Meyers. she asked him to immediately go to one of the neighbors and borrow the money to purchase the cottage, which he did for $60.00.
Mr. Ernest Cheatham Meyers and his wife Camilla Woodcock Meyers move the cottage in 1936 to the Subdivision in Chesterfield County, British Farm Camp. It was called that due to a 1781 British raiding party in Chesterfield County, which camp in the area, according to legend, the presence of Scottish Bromine the county is due to the seeds of the plants in the forage which the British had brought with them to feed the draft animals. The subdivision was later annexed by the City of Richmond
The Union Cottage was rebuilt piece by piece using as much of the old doors, stairway, windows and lots of the old woodwork. It had originally had fireplaces in each room but not had only one in the living room and one staircase instead of two. The originally cottage did have Kitchen because they all eat in the mess hall.
In 2009 the proper was for sale (The house was to be demo) the address was 2715 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond, Virginia 23224-6145.
The cottage was designed by Marion J. Dimmock. Dimmock also designed the Chapel and several other cottages on the camp. The building housed 16 occupants, or as the old soldiers were called, “inmates.” The money for the structure was donated by William Wilson Corcoran of Washington D.C. and the Corcoran Gallery. Corcoran came to Richmond to inspect the cottage in late May 1886. The cottage was named Union Cottage, reflecting the substantial contributions to the construction of the Soldiers’ Home by Union veterans across the country.