The Civil War in Missouri

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Camp Benton, also known as Benton Barracks

Lithograph by Alexander McLean, 1861
MHM Photographs and Prints

One Michigan cavalryman stationed at Benton Barracks, also called Camp Benton, described it as a “spacious camp” with two rows of barracks a mile long each and two more barracks one-third of a mile long. There were two parade grounds—one a mile by one-third of a mile and another 70 acres square. All of the buildings—soldiers’ and officers’ quarters, warehouses, and stables—were whitewashed to give them a clean appearance. Built on land formerly occupied by the state fairgrounds, the camp utilized an existing amphitheater by converting it into a hospital that could accommodate 2,500 patients. A contraband camp there held thousands of refugee slaves during the war.