Camp Butner’s Namesake, Henry Wolfe Butner

Henry Wolfe ButnerOn March 13, 1937, Maj. Gen. Henry Wolfe Butner, a native of Surry County and commander of the First Artillery Brigade in World War I, died. Butner received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star among other commendations for his wartime service.  He was also briefly the commander at Fort Bragg.

An Army camp named in Butner’s honor opened in August 1942. Located on approximately 40,000 acres in Granville, Person and Durham counties, it served as a combat infantry facility and site of training exercises for nearly 30,000 soldiers during World War II. The rolling farmland terrain was used for a range of exercises, including rehearsals of gas attacks, the use of camouflage and river crossings. German and Italian prisoners of war were brought to Camp Butner where they served as cooks and performed various duties.

At the war’s close the temporary quarters were bulldozed, and most of the land was returned to its former owners. Today, the grounds house a variety of state and federal facilities including several mental health facilities, multiple correctional institutions, state-owned farms and a National Guard training facility.

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