Historical – Camp Chase

Below are historical photographs of the Civil War’s Camp Chase in Columbus. Named for former Ohio Governor and Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, Samuel P. Chase, Camp Chase was a Civil War camp established in May 1861 on land leased by the US government to replace the much smaller Camp Jackson. Sitting four miles west of Columbus, the camp’s main entrance was along the National Road in order to provide easy transportation of goods and troops. Camp Chase served as a training post for Ohio soldiers, a parole camp, a muster-out post and a prisoner-of-war camp. Between 1861 and 1865 when the camp was closed, more than 150,000 Union soldiers and over 9,400 Confederate prisoners passed through the camp, including four future US Presidents; Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, and William McKinley.

More than 2,000 Confederate troops who died in the camp are buried in its cemetery located off present-day Sullivant Avenue. Some civilians who worked at the camp and considered part of the prison were buried in the cemetery as well. By 1867, most of Camp Chase’s buildings had been dismantled and wood was used for markers in the cemetery. In 1895, the first memorial service was held at the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery by former Union soldier William H. Knauss and in 1906, Knauss wrote the history of the camp. The present memorial arch was built and dedicated in 1902. Much of Camp Chase today has been consumed by residential and commercial development. The Westgate development built in the late 1920s and early 1930s occupies the greatest portion of the camp’s location. For more information on Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, click here.