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Confederate Memorial Chapel, Richmond VA


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Address: 2918 Grove Ave, Richmond, VA 23221

 

On our recent trip to Virginia, we went to Richmond to see an exhibit on Napoleon at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. While entering, I saw a reference to a "Confederate Chapel". I asked the person selling us our admission tickets who told me "Well, the museum grounds has a rather unique history."

 

Unique indeed. The grounds had previously been the site of the R. E. Lee Confederate Soldiers Home. In a series of small house, impoverished Confederate veterans were housed with a shared room with an iron bed, three meals a day, clothing styled after the gray uniforms they had previously worn, and tobacco. The residents responded to the morning call, and were expected to sweep their rooms and perform some of the housekeeping chores.

 

Donations to maintain the home came from both Confederate and Union veterans. The camp became a site of reconciliation as time went on, with soldiers of both sides gathering for reunions. Both Blue and Grey uniforms can be seen in this period photo from the VFMA's website.

 

https://www.vmfa.museum/about/grounds-history/

 

Confederate Home.jpg

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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The houses are gone, and were later replaced by a large building that became the Confederate Women's Home.

 

What remains is the Chapel. As described by the Museum website:

 

Confederate Memorial Chapel

Dedicated in 1887 to the Confederate war dead, the nondenominational chapel—still standing on the southwestern corner of the museum grounds—served as a place of worship for the residents of the soldiers’ home. Funded by donations from veterans and private citizens, it was designed by architect Marion J. Dimmock in the Carpenter-Gothic style. The interior features hand-hewn pews, eight commemorative stained-glass windows, and a bell that once tolled the day’s hours. By the time the home closed fifty-four years later, the chapel had hosted approximately 1,700 funeral services for the former soldiers.

Read more at https://www.vmfa.museum/about/grounds-history/#DiPvYv8HVoSR2SVj.99

 

The cannon off to side of the building had a marker stating that it had been "used to defend Fort Sumter". It did not specify which side or if both had used it for that purpose.

 

AA 3.jpg

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Despite the sign on the door that said it was open, it was locked tighter than a drum. However, it was possible to see some of the donated stained glass windows from the outside. There were more that I could not view, and you can find photos of these by searching Google Images.

 

 

 

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Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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This window was particularly detailed... and tragic.

AA 4.jpg

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Closer details:

 

"My greatest regret is that I had so short of time to serve the cause."

 

The legend at the center says: "He returned from fame and fortune in the state of his adoption to defend his native Virginia".

 

The seals are those of the Confederate States and the State of Virginia.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Austin E. Smith was killed at Gaines Mills June 27th, 1862.

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Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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At the other end of the grounds is a large marble clad building that is the national headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. As far as I could tell they did not have displays open to the public.

BB 1.jpg

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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However, both in front of the building and behind it they had period cannons and limber.

 

Both of the ones in the rear of the building had markings indicating that the barrels had been forged in Boston in 1847. The markings on the limber are stamped Washington Arsenal 1848.

 

As impressive as these are, the wooden portions of the gun carriage is suffering from a lack of maintenance. The center portion of the trail is showing signs of rot and decay.

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Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Adjoining the property is the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, which I will cover in another thread.

 

As for the Napoleon exhibit... we spent the full morning there. If you are in the Richmond area this summer, it is well worth the visit.

 

 

AA 1.jpg

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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