Alabama Camps of Instruction
In April of 1862 the Confederate government established two
camps of instruction in Alabama. These were Camp Watts at Notasulga (Camp of
Instruction No. 1) and Camp Buckner at Talladega (Camp of Instruction No. 2).
Other camps were used on a temporary basis as collection points for recruits on
the way to Camp of Instruction, or to assembling companies intending to join a
front-line unit. One such site was Camp Marie near Montgomery, where Hilliard's
Legion collected and drilled during its early days. A short list of towns which
hosted one of these larger camps would include Hunstville, Tuscumbia,
Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Selma, Demopolis, Greenville, Troy, Eufaula and Mobile.
All of these were larger towns having the advantage of established
transportation and communication facilities, being situated on rivers, rail
lines and major road intersections.
To my limited knowledge, Blount County, especially that part later taken to form
Cullman County, was a relatively unpopulated, uncultivated area at the time of
the war. There were no towns or communities of any size in the area. Falkville,
Summit, Blountsville and Arkadelphia are the only ones I can list, and only the
latter was inside the current boundaries of Cullman County. It wouldn't serve
any purpose to have established a Confederate military facility in such an area,
since there were no good routes in or out of the area, no easy way to
communicate with it and no ready sources of sustinance nearby. The only reason I
can produce to be there would be to disappear!
The name is a bit curious also. Usually camps were named for some prominent
Confederate leader, often someone from Alabama. Of course the were exceptions
(Camp Marie?), but I have to ask, for whom was this site named? In addition,
forts were sites constructed for defensive purposes by military engineers. If
there was a significant fortification in Cullman County, there should be some
earthwork remains on the site to indicate its existence. Is that the case?
Last question: where is Providence? It does not appear on a detailed modern map
of Cullman County.
Source: Alan J. Pitts
Camp Winn at Shelby Springs, Shelby County
The Al 28th Inf Regt., companies were there for several weeks in
the late winter/early spring of 1862. The governor ordered companies into camp
on February 15, 1862, and the regiment organized on March 22, 1862. The first
company arriving in camp on February 18, 1862, and the last on April 10, 1862.
Unknown exactly when the regiment left for Corinth, probably during the last
week of April.
Shelby Springs later became the site of a Confederate hospital when the 1st
Mississippi Hospital relocated from Jackson MS in the summer of 1863. Entries in
Confederate records continue to read "1st Mississippi Hospital, Jackson MS",
long after after relocation, but these all refer to Shelby Springs.
It's just my opinion, but many of the temporary camps used for assembly points
by Confederate commands were probably antebellum militia campgrounds well-known
to residents for miles around.
Source: Alan J. Pitts
Units that trained at Camp Winn
The Al 28th Inf Regt.
Tuscaloosa Training Camp
The location of the Tuscaloosa training camp was in what is now
the park downtown (Hinton Park?), behind the present day site of the relocated
Old Tavern (aka Old Stagecoach Inn). A railroad depot was located there, but I
haven't researched whether it existed during the war.
Locations of other sites in Tuscaloosa:
The POW prison was located in a hotel, across the intersection for where the 1st
National Bank building now stands downtown. This is at the intersection of
University Blvd. and Greensboro Ave. This is two blocks from the camp. The Old
Capital Building was located on another corner of this intersection.
A skirmish occurred near where the Old National Guard Armory now stands, on
University Blvd. Actual location may be back toward the University's campus
about a block or so.
Confederate [nitrate?] mines were located near the river on the University's
The old Nitrate Plant, burned by Croxton, was located where the football
practice field is located. I believe that the Leech and Avery Cannon Foundry was
also located on that same block.
Cadet stables were located across River Road from the location of the present
day steel mill.
Source: Hayes Lowe
The 30th & 31st Alabama used Camp Curry as a rendezvous. Both
would have left this camp by early April of 1862.
Camp of Instruction No. 2 -- No. 1 was at Notasulga -- was
established that summer, and it stands to reason that the two were one and the
same. If you have the opportunity to pick up "Sherman's Horsemen," you'll find a
good description of the town and camp at the time Rousseau's raid struck
Talladega in 1864.
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