Camp Kinsman

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Camp Kinsman (1863-1865) - A U.S. Civil War Camp established in 1863 as Camp Roberts (2) named after General Benjamin S. Roberts (Cullum 838), camp commander. Located on Duck Creek near the Oakdale Cemetery in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa. Renamed Camp Kinsman by special order on 30 May 1964 after Colonel William H. Kinsman who fell mortally wounded at Black River Bridge, Mississippi on 17 May 1863. Abandoned as a military post at the end of the war in 1865.


Camp Kinsman was built as a U.S. Civil War training and rendezvous camp for the 8th and 9th Iowa Cavalry. It was activated on 14 Jul 1863. The cantonment area of the camp was constructed on about 10 acres with the buildings surrounding a square central parade. On the east side a long building housed the headquarters, this building was 125' long and 26' wide with supply buildings on the right side. On the north side were six barracks buildings with a hospital building to the left. On the west side were six more barracks buildings. A 50' by 100' dining hall was located on the south side of the square with capacity for 75 tables each seating seven people. The 32' square kitchen at the rear of the dining hall was complete with ovens and ranges. To the right of this complex were 24 large stables.

Abandoned as a military post at the end of the war in 1865. A determined effort to secure the abandoned camp as an orphanage for the children of fallen soldiers was spearheaded by Annie, Wittenmyer a friend of President Abraham Lincoln. Wittenmyer saw the desperate need to care for the orphans as she tended to wounded and dying soldiers. She appropriated the abandoned camp even before the Army had approved the transfer. Conversion to use as the Soldiers' Orphans' Home was complete enough by November 1865 to begin occupancy by the orphans. The Congressional Joint Resolution authorizing the transfer to Orphans Home was approved by the U.S. Congress on 22 Jan 1866.

Current Status

After the camp's closing, its buildings were used for the establishment of the Iowa Soldiers' Orphan Home at 2800 Eastern Avenue, where a stone marks the site of the old camp.

Location: Davenport, Scott County, Iowa.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.54705 Long: -90.55232

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  • Elevation: 653'

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 286-287.
  • Snyder, Dr. Charles E., Army Camp and Orphans Home, The Annals of Iowa, Volume 29 Number 4 (Spring 1948), pages 307-314, Pdf
  • The Soldiers' Orphans' Home - Description of the buildings and grounds, The Morning Democrat (Davenport, Iowa), 16 Nov 1865, Page 4. (by subscription


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