“Camp” from campaign? 
Posted: 15 August 2009 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Today, at a Civil War re-enactment held at a plantation built in the 1700s in northern Virginia, the docent for the plantation made a passing comment that I question.  She said the lady of the house, during Civil War days, had sent for her “camp bed”, which was short for “campaign bed”. 

That got me wondering if our common use of the term “camp” and “camping” all come from the idea of soldiers going on a “campaign” when they’re in battle, setting up tents and temporary places to stay while on their campaign. 

Does anyone know if the word “camp” is short for “campaign”, as in soldiers going on a campaign and living in tents?  I asked around the Civil War re-enactors and other plantation guides, and no one seemed to know.  One very knowledgeable historian among the re-enactors did not think that was the case.

I’m curious about this.

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Posted: 15 August 2009 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From Dictionary.com:

Camp -

O.E. camp “contest,” from W.Gmc. *kampo-z, early loan from L. campus “open field” (see campus), especially “open space for military exercise.” Meaning “place where an army lodges temporarily” is 1528, from Fr. camp, from the same L. source. Transferred to non-military senses 1560. Meaning “body of adherents of a doctrine or cause” is 1871. The verb meaning “to encamp” is from 1543. Camp-follower first attested 1810. Camp-meeting is from 1809, usually in reference to Methodists.

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Posted: 15 August 2009 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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To continue from dictionary.com

Campaign came after camp

1620–30; < F campagne < It campagna < LL campānia level district, equiv. to L camp(us) field + -ān(us) -an + -ia -ia

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Posted: 16 August 2009 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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To state the obvious: You shouldn’t believe everything tour guides tell you.  (They all, for instance, insist that “sleep tight” comes from tightening the ropes under a mattress.)

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Posted: 31 August 2009 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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guitarex - 15 August 2009 12:42 PM

Today, at a Civil War re-enactment held at a plantation built in the 1700s in northern Virginia, the docent for the plantation made a passing comment that I question.  She said the lady of the house, during Civil War days, had sent for her “camp bed”, which was short for “campaign bed”. 

That got me wondering if our common use of the term “camp” and “camping” all come from the idea of soldiers going on a “campaign” when they’re in battle, setting up tents and temporary places to stay while on their campaign. 

Does anyone know if the word “camp” is short for “campaign”, as in soldiers going on a campaign and living in tents?  I asked around the Civil War re-enactors and other plantation guides, and no one seemed to know.  One very knowledgeable historian among the re-enactors did not think that was the case.

I’m curious about this.

Is it possible that the term “camp bed” and the writer of the letter referring to her campaign bed was a direct quote from a letter, and if that was the case, then it would be indicated that way, such as it possibly was by the guide?

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Posted: 01 September 2009 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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As stated, camp does not come from campaign. But that does not necessarily mean that camp bed might not possibly come from campaign bed.

The earliest citations of campaign, in the military sense, in the OED2 is from 1647. The one and only cite for camp bed is from 1690. Also, there are citations for campaign coat (1677), campaign lace (1682), campaign oven (1708), campaign shoes (1691), and campaign wig (1688). The dictionary notes that not all of these were designed for military service, but merely names to seize on the popularity of Marlborough’s battles.

So it’s not a stretch to think that there might have been a campaign bed that has eluded the lexicographers at Oxford. I’m not saying there was--we need actually evidence--but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if such a term turned up.

But this well before and across the ocean from the US Civil War. By the 1860s, camp bed was a well established term. So the tour guide in this case was most definitely mistaken.

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