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Must-See RVA! — Dabbs House




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.

March 2018

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.

(Skinner Family Papers) — Robert E. Lee flanked by Generals Longstreet and D.H. Hill at the beginning of the Seven Days Battles — Painted by Sidney King, National Park Service

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)

(National Archives) — General George McClellan

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.

(National Archives) — General J. E. B. Stuart

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.

(Civil War Trust) — Fighting at the Chickahominy River during the Seven Days — sketch by Alfred Waud

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)

March 2018

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)


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