Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Union Army Moves into Camp Around Present-Day McLean

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Union Army's occupation of Lewinsville and Langley, part of present-day McLean, Virginia.  When first writing this blog, I devoted considerable attention to Camps Griffin and Pierpont, which were established in October 1861 around Lewinsville and Langley.  Camp Griffin served as the winter quarters for Gen. "Baldy" Smith's division, including the famed Vermont Brigade and a brigade under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock.  Gen. George A. McCall's Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps established its base at Camp Pierpont.  I have also written a lot about McCall's HQ at Langley Ordinary, as well as Smith's HQ at Salona. 

Modern-day view of Langley Ordinary, site of Gen. McCall's HQ from October 1861-March 1862.  The building is located on Georgetown Pike in Langley, Virginia.

While I am away from the blog for a few days, I wanted to direct readers to some posts I have done on the two camps and related topics:

*For a general discussion of  Camps Griffin and Pierpont, including the movement of the Union Army to Lewinsville and Langley in October 1861, check herehere and here.

*For some period photographs of Camp Griffin, take a look here and here.

*The picket war around Lewinsville grew hot in mid-October 1861.  See a post I wrote on the skirmishing here.

*Readers will find more about the Pennsylvanians at Langley here.

*For the whole series of posts on the camps, click on the "Camp Griffin" and "Camp Pierpont" labels in the left hand margin under "Topics of Interest."

*Last October I had the opportunity to visit the historic Salona property.  My photos can be found here.

*Gen. George McClellan stayed at Salona in October 1861.  I wrote a post about the visit last fall.

*Gen. McCall's HQ at Langley Ordinary has been a subject of a few posts.  Check here for a tour of Civil War-era Langley, including the Ordinary.  See this post for a story about the preservation of the structure.

This fall I plan to post more information about Camps Griffin and Pierpont that I uncovered while doing additional research.  There are just so many topics to explore more fully, including camp life and the impact of the war on locals.  In the meantime, as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Union occupation of my adopted hometown, I invite you to take a look at the work I've done so far if you haven't seen it yet, or if you just want to refresh your memory as we look back to October 1861.


Vince said...

I just stumbled across your site, and look forward to seeing what you find about the Pennsylvania Reserves at Camp Pierpont. I was going to say to make sure you check out the estimated 200-300 PRVC soldiers' letters published in PA newspapers, but I now see that the PRVC historical society has been posting many of them. So, a couple additional notes:

1) Are you familiar with the PA Newspaper Digitization Project, which allows you to just search "Camp Pierpont" and get results from dozens of PA newspapers.

2) Richard Sauers has indexed by paper/date/regiment PA soldiers letters in all PA newspapers whose microfilm was at the state archives 20 years ago. Copies of his index are at the USAMHI in Carlisle.

3) J.R. Sypher, author of the 1865 PRVC history, is one of the more curious personalities of the Civil War. I have posted on him here , but for your reference as of November 1861 he was the local editor for the Lancaster Daily Evening Express. Later, he would travel to both the Western and Eastern Theaters to report the war.

Ron Baumgarten said...

Vince--Thanks for reading. I have been researching the PRVC at Camp Pierpont for the last year or so, and hope to dig even deeper this year. I found a motherlode of material on the PRVC Hist. Soc. website, including the letters you mention. My interest stems from the intersection of my place of birth--Pittsburgh--and my current residence, right down the street from Langley. (I see you live in the Burgh!)

Thanks for passing along the resource information. That digitization project is amazing, and I will be sure to spend some time on the site.

I also look forward to checking out your blog.