Birds Eye View of Camp Convalescent, Near Alexandria, Va


This colored lithograph depicts the second Camp Convalescent, a military camp near Alexandria, built to house soldiers recently released from hospitals, stragglers who had become separated from their units, and men on parole from Confederate prisons. In December 1862, it replaced the first Camp Convalescent, nicknamed “Camp Misery” by its inhabitants. The original camp had only tents, and was constantly lacking adequate supplies of food and fuel for fires. The upper panel of this print depicts the new camp’s wooden barracks. The lower panel presents the camp’s administrative buildings, five of which are arranged in a semicircle. These include, the officer and staff quarters, the soldiers’ library, a church, and the quartermaster and commissary’s offices.

Charles Magnus (1826-1900) was born Julian Carl Magnus in Germany and immigrated with his family to New York City sometime between 1848 and 1850. During the 1850s, he learned the printing business while working with his brother on a German language weekly newspaper, the Deutsche Schnellpost. He later began his own lithographer firm, producing city views and commercial letterhead designs. During the Civil War, he designed pro-Union envelopes and illustrated song sheets. The firm’s Washington, D.C. branch also produced small, hand-colored scenes of Union camps and hospitals. Soldiers purchased these picturesque scenes of camp life to send home to calm the worries of anxious family members.

Date Made: 1863

Maker: Magnus, Charles

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Related Event: Civil War

Subject: Parks, public, Architecture, Horseback Riding, Patriotism and Patriotic Symbols, Carriages, Chronology: 1860-1869, Pets, Horses, Uniforms, Military, Civil War, Wagons

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, American Civil War Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.3739Catalog Number: 60.3739

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Measurements: image: 10 1/2 in x 16 3/4 in; 26.67 cm x 42.545 cm


Record Id: nmah_325940

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.