north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     At the outbreak of war in April 1861, North Carolina had few medical facilities to deal with sick and injured soldiers. When the 1st North Carolina Volunteer Infantry, the state’s first Confederate unit, assembled at the original state fairgrounds in eastern Raleigh, they established a temporary military hospital to serve the state’s sick and wounded. A second hospital, constructed in June 1862, was sited in Raleigh alongside the railroad in an unfinished building of Peace College and became known officially as Peace Hospital.

     In April 1864, the temporary hospital at the corner of New Bern Avenue and Tarboro Road became permanent. Named for General James J. Pettigrew who had been killed at Gettysburg in July 1863, the hospital would eventually boast enough beds to accommodate up to 400 soldiers. The post became Confederate General Hospital No. 13, but was rather small in comparison to the numerous other Confederate military hospitals across the South.

     When Sherman’s army occupied Raleigh in April 1865, Dr. E. Burke Haywood, the chief surgeon, was ordered to leave along with the remaining sick and wounded. The hospital was renamed Camp Russell, and additional buildings were constructed to house Union soldiers. The post remained a United States Army barracks until 1876 when Federal occupation of the state ended.

     In 1889, when the Confederate Veterans Association of North Carolina was formed, a solid movement in favor of a Confederate veteran’s home was already underway. The veterans, joined by the Daughters of the Confederacy, persuaded legislators to incorporate a North Carolina Soldiers’ Home Association in 1891. The wording of the incorporation gave the original Camp Russell Site and buildings to the association to be used as the home, and appropriated $3,000 annually to maintain it.

     From 1890 to 1938, the facilities were home to over 1,600 veterans, over 900 of whom died there. The old soldiers followed strict rules, including a prohibition on alcohol and fighting. They were allowed to leave the premises only with permission, and had to officially report in for duty when they returned. Furthermore, the “inmates” as they were officially titled, were only allowed visits into Raleigh twice a week. A Confederate flag flew over the home every day with the exception of April 6, 1917. On that day America declared war on Germany, and on that single occasion the veterans allowed the United States flag to fly over the home.

     On August 6, 1938, the last resident of the home, 94-year-old Walter Barfield, left the facilities to stay with family and friends in Wilson. After his departure, the home and its various buildings, all named for Confederate generals, fell into disrepair. The post chapel was the last building that remained functioning. In 1948, permission was give to the State Highway Commission to open an automobile inspection station on the site. Related highway buildings remain on the site to this day.

Herbert Poole, “Final Encampment: The North Carolina Soldiers’ Home,” Confederate Veteran (Summer 1987): 10-17
H. H. Cunningham, Doctors in Gray (1958)
H. H. Cunningham, “Edmund Burke Haywood and Raleigh’s Confederate Hospitals,” North Carolina Historical Review (April 1958): 153-167
Ernest Haywood Collection, Haywood Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, online finding aid at:
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources