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Fort Pickett (Camp Pickett)
In January 1942, less than one month after the United States declared war on Japan and Germany, the federal government ordered the construction of Camp Pickett. The construction of the camp was a massive undertaking, covering more than 45,000 acres over four Southside counties, with over half in Nottoway County. During the height of construction, approximately 13,000 workers were employed and more than 1,600 buildings erected. The core of the fort was located in a three-square-mile area known as the Cantonment Area. The currently wooded areas once contained immense hospital grounds and a German prisoner-of-war camp for more than 3,000 detainees. The typical building layout consisted of seven barracks, two mess halls, two administration buildings, and a chapel. The two-story barracks were built with platform framing sheathed with shiplap siding and no insulation; they were heated by coal stoves, but not cooled in the summer. The officers who lived on the second floor, however, had frame awnings covering the eight-over-eight sash windows. The starkness of the barracks provides a glimpse into conditions for soldiers in the World War II era. Many of the barracks have remained almost unchanged since 1942. After the regular army garrison at Pickett was inactivated, the post was turned over to the Virginia National Guard in 1997.
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