Camp Hopkins was a camp occupied by detachments of the 54th Pennsylvania and 1st West Virginia Infantry regiments. The men were sent here to guard and repair the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, a main supply route between the Ohio River and the national capital region. On April 2, 1863, the 106th New York Volunteer Infantry and a section of Capt. Thomas A. Maulsby’s Battery F, West Virginia Light Artillery moved into this camp after marching from Martinsburg to relieve the units. The camp was named for Lt. James W. Hopkins, a friend and former schoolmate of Col. Edward James, who had passed away prior to their encampment.
[Our camp is located on] a steep wooded hill on the
brow of which the tents are laid out. ... Picture the tents on a firm smooth
swail, intersperced plentifully with fine large trees and you have some idea of
it. - Sgt. Maj. Charles W. Shepard, 106th N.Y. Volunteers, Apr. 8, 1863
The importance of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad during the
Civil War cannot be overstated. It provided a life line to the troops and their
cause. The B & O Railroad provided a main supply line between the Ohio
River and the national capital region. Ultimately it was crucial to the Union’s
victory and the outcome of the war could have been different if the railroad
had been overtaken by the Confederates.
Camp Hopkins was the location General Benjamin F. Kelley
stationed the 54th Pennsylvania and 1st West Virginia Infantry regiments to
guard and repair this vital asset to his army in December 1862. Kelley had been a freight agent of the B & O railroad 10 years prior to his military service. In March of 1863, Colonel Edward James and his 106th New York Volunteer Infantry
and a section of Capt. Thomas A. Maulsby’s Battery F, West Virginia Light
Artillery (US), marched from Martinsburg and relieved Kelley's troops. The camp
was yet to be named so Colonel James named the camp for a schoolmate and friend
from Martinsburg, Lt. James W. Hopkins, who had recently died.
The camps were set up with company streets which resembled small villages Their living quarters were conical Sibley
tents. These tents were 18 ft. in diameter and 12 ft. high. They were held up
by a single pole standing in a metal tripod. Iron reinforcement in the top
opening was suspended with chains from the pole and are still available for purchase today. The tents were arranged in a
line-of-battle order and the companies patrolled the hillside around their
campsite to guard the railroad and seize Confederate contraband.
This encampment was short-lived as the men broke camp on June 13, 1863, to set off in pursuit
of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia as the invasion
of Pennsylvania that ended at Gettysburg had begun.
Remarkably, the holes were the tents once stood are still
visible. This property was generously donated to the Berkeley County Landmarks
Commission in 2008 by the Windle family.