“Encampment of the Convention Army,”  an etching originally published in London in 1789. After the critical American victory in the Battles at Saratoga, New  York in October 1777— a turning point in the War for Independence— thousands of British and their allied Hessian soldiers were taken prisoner. After having been kept in Cambridge for a year, nearly 4,000 of the enemy troops were marched hundreds of miles south to be kept in a rural area of Albemarle County, west of the town of Charlottesville. They arrived in the winter, January 1779 to what one survivor described as “truly horrible” conditions. This “Convention Army” established a prisoner of war camp known as the “Albemarle Barracks.” In 1781, as British forces marched on Virginia, the prisoners of war at the Barracks were moved north to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they remained until released in 1783. The western road, from Charlottesville out to the Albemarle Barracks, is to this day still referred to as Barracks Road.

Become A Member of Your Historical Society Today!

The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society was founded as a membership organization eight decades ago with community members uniting in a shared commitment to explore our history and to share what they learned. Membership is a statement of dedication to support our important work of collecting, preserving, and interpreting our history. As a member you receive our annual scholarly magazine, regular newsletters and updates, and access to all our programs, activities, and events. You make our Vision and Mission possible. Join us. Any questions, please contact us at [email protected]. Thank you!


Our vision is to reimagine and reinvent the role of the historical society in the twenty-first century: to be a strong civic organization that embraces, in all that we do, the diversity of our community’s history and experience, and promotes a greater understanding of our past, to enlighten the present and foster an inclusive history for future generations.


History is not the past; it is the story we tell about the past. Every person in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville has a unique and powerful story to tell. Through collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of our community, we are committed to informing, inspiring, and bringing together all people, creating opportunities for new relationships and new understandings.


Our work is grounded in a belief in the worth and dignity of every human being. We respect people, communities, and cultures. We value discovery, creativity, integrity, and diversity. We believe in the potential for history to enrich our lives and to create stronger relationships and more vibrant communities. We approach our work with integrity and transparency.

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McIntire Library
Market Street Park

Downtown Charlottesville
200 Second Street, NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902


Research Library Open
By Appointment
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