College Camp was a term used to describe the camp set up by the Virginia militia during the American Revolution from 1775-1781. It was located to the west of the Wren Building around what is today the Sunken Garden. A bronze plaque recognizing the College Camp is currently located on one of the brick columns by the steps at the head of the Sunken Garden. It was dedicated at Homecoming in 1976 and was given by the class of 1976 and the Society of the Alumni.
Background on College Camp
In September 1775, Colonel Patrick Henry came to Williamsburg, Virginia to set up a camp for the 5th Regiment of the Virginia Line behind the College, and they continued to be stationed there until September 1776 when they were replaced by the 7th Regiment. Other units stayed at the College Camp from 1775-1781. During this period, several units left the camp to join George Washington's army in the North. Troops also camped at College Camp before the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.
Text of Plaque
"On this site in September 1775 Colonel Patrick Henry established camp grounds for Virginia troops who were to rendezvous and train at Williamsburg. Several Virginia regiments left here in 1776 and 1777 to join General George Washington's army in the North In 1777 students formed a College company with the president, Rev. James Madison, as captain. Troops camped here before the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Presented by the Society of the Alumni, 1976."
There are several mentions of the College Camp in the Virginia Gazette from the following issues:
- September 22, 1775
- September 29, 1775
- October 13, 1775
- November 10, 1775
- July 19, 1776
- August 10, 1776
- September 7, 1776
- September 20, 1776
- September 27, 1776
- January 24, 1777
- April 4, 1777
- August 22, 1777
Material in the Special Collections Research Center
- Alumni Association Records, College Camp, Series 5, Box 1, Folder 3
- Buildings and Grounds--College Camp in the University Archives Subject File Collection
- In the News, William & Mary News, vol 5, no. 5, October 5, 1976, page 1.
- Parade, Blue Hens Highlight Weekend, Flat Hat, vol 66, no. 6, October 8, 1976, page 1.
- College Camp, Series 5, Box 1, Folder 3, Alumni Association Records, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.