Vincent Camlier was born in Washington D. C. on September 12, 1829. After the death of his mother in 1830, his father, an architect and builder, moved the family to St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Vincent Camalier was educated in public schools and private academies in St Mary’s County and was engaged in business in Baltimore until the outbreak of the War Between the States. He entered service of the Confederate States at the age of 32 and served until the end of the war.
Captain Camalier’s entire military service was in the Confederate Signal Corps (Secret Service Bureau) under Colonel William Norris, Chief Signal Officer, who described him as one of his 1000 handpicked men. In a letter to Camalier dated January 3, 1887, Colonel Norris wrote that there was, “…not a single member of the Corps made a more honorable record” than Camalier. He also wrote, “Whether employed in the desperate hazards of bearing dispatches through the enemy’s lines, or in bearing the gun boats, the ice and darkness and storms of the wintry Potomac or in laborious duties of office in Richmond, there was always the same unblemished record of patient self-sacrificing, loyal devotion to the cause we loved…your blockade adventures in female apparel…would form a very interesting contribution to the Secret Service and “Sheridan’s ride” was a fraud and a humbug, but ”Camalier’s ride” I have always thought saved Richmond at that time.”
The St. Mary’s Beacon reported that Camalier returned to Leonardtown after the war, “…shattered in health and broken in fortune.” He wrote many articles for publication and his history of Leonardtown published in the Beacon was held in high esteem.
In 1887, he became a member of the Society of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States in the State of Maryland upon recommendation of Colonel Norris. In 1893, he was an organizer and secretary of the St. Mary’s County C.S.A. Veterans Association. He entered the Confederate Veterans Home at Pikesville on June 2, 1896, but returned to Leonardtown in November 1897, where he died on June 8, 1902. He is buried in the Old St. Aloysius Church Cemetery on Cemetery Road, in Leonardtown.
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Sons of Confederate Veterans, Vincent Camalier Camp # 1359