Only three days after war broke out between the states in April 1861, the Doylestown Guards, under the command of Captain William W.H. Davis, answered President Lincoln’s call for troops by volunteering for service. In less than three weeks, the Guards were in Washington D.C. — the first company to reach the capitol from any state. This original group of soldiers saw action immediately in the Shenandoah Valley. After returning home a few months later, Captain Davis (ultimately General Davis) quickly organized the 104th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.
To train these new recruits, Camp Lacey, named in honor of the Revolutionary War General of the Bucks County Militia, was built where Central Bucks West High School stands today. The volunteers occupied a tent city and marched great distances to prove their stamina. The drills were often observed by crowds of patriotic citizens, as many as 6,000 at a time. Camp Lacey was occupied from July until November 1961, when the 1,049 officers and men left by rail to join the Army of the Potomac.
The training camp of Bucks County’s own 104th regiment was dedicated in 1999 with a ceremony on the high school grounds at Lafayette Street and MacFarlane Lane. A memorial, designed by local architect Myron Fetch, was erected there as a lasting tribute to these veterans.