AKA, High Meadow
3812 Nine Mile Road
Built, circa 1820
Robert E. Lee’s first headquarters, after assuming command of the Army of Northern Virginia.
The Dabbs House was home to the Henrico County police force for more than fifty years although the actual history of the property and its residents goes back much further. The original two-room dwelling was built around 1820 and was known as High Meadow.
In 1859, Josiah Dabbs moved to High Meadow with his wife Mary Catherine. Josiah Dabbs succumbed to an illness and died at his home on Nine Mile Road on January 19, 1862. Recognizing that her home was in the direct path of the invading Federal Army, Mary Catherine Dabbs moved to another residence in the city of Richmond.
General Lee and his staff received permission from Mrs. Dabbs to use her vacant home at High Meadow as his new field headquarters. On June 23, 1862, Lee and his generals conferred at Dabbs House, and plans for the protection of Richmond were crafted. General Lee’s strategy for defending the Confederate capital resulted in the Seven Days Battle. (Henrico County)
In May 1862, Gen. George McClellan ’s Union army was poised on the outskirts of Richmond threatening the Confederate capital. Here, in the Dabbs House, Robert E. Lee, as new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, opened his headquarters on June 1, 1862. Four days later, he had shaped the strategy that would free Richmond from the Army of the Potomac.
Two notable conferences occurred here. The ﬁrst, on June 11, brought cavalryman Gen. J. E. B. Stuart to plan with Lee the famous ride around the Union Army. That feat, which covered 100 miles in 72 hours, electriﬁed stagnant morale among citizens and soldiers alike and was the ﬁrst ﬂash in Stuart’s meteoric career.
Almost two weeks later, on June 23, Lee assembled his top subordinates for the ﬁrst time. Using information gathered from Stuart’s ride, he unveiled his plan to drive the Northern army away from Richmond. This event, often called “The Dabbs House Meeting,” was the ﬁrst step in the series of battles known as the Seven Days that introduced Lee to the world as a talented general. (CivilWarTrails)
In 1883 the County purchased the property to use as an Almshouse for the poor. By 1924, Dabbs no longer served as the County Almshouse and was used as rental property for a number of years. (Henrico County)
In 2005, the property was turned over to the Division of Recreation and Parks, and is today the Dabbs House Museum & Henrico County Tourist Information Center.
(Dabbs House is part of the Atlas RVA Project)
Must-See RVA! is a regular series
appearing on rocket werks – check it out!
Will you help support independent, local journalism?
We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.