The Saga of Lt. General A.P. Hill’s Remains Continues

A few weeks back, I forwarded my ECW blog post on Lt. General A.P. Hill’s remains to several of Richmond’s leading officials involved in the removal of the city’s Confederate monuments: Mayor Levar Stoney, Interim City Attorney Haskell C. Brown III, the City Council of Richmond, and the Hermitage Road Historic District Association’s officers. I hoped that I could provide a little guidance when it comes to the unique case involving the A.P. Hill Monument.

I didn’t receive a reply from any of them. That didn’t bother me at all. What did bother me was that I began to see (and continue to see) inaccurate information being published and circulated about the A.P. Hill Monument, notably the statements made by the Hermitage Road Historic District Association’s president. He incorrectly told one news source that Hill’s remains were buried under the monument (something I continually see repeated by online news sources) and that the Confederate general desired to buried in the middle of the intersection at Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road. Unless someone can prove otherwise, I have every reason to believe that Hill’s remains are stored inside the monument’s pedestal, not buried under it. But the comment that Hill wanted to be buried in that location is indisputably false.

A.P. Hill Monument. (Courtesy of Stan Gilliland)

In a letter sent to the city on June 26, the Hermitage Road Historic District Association requested that Mayor Stoney and the City Council of Richmond act swiftly to remove the monument while officials debated what to do with his body. Shortly after, Mayor Stoney ordered the immediate removal of 11 Confederate monuments, declaring them to be a threat to public safety, among them the A.P. Hill Monument. But the monument’s removal was delayed when a Richmond judge issued an injunction barring Mayor Stoney from moving the monument for at least 60 days.

No doubt, the sooner the city removes the monument, the better. But this should not come at the expense of damaging or destroying Hill’s remains. We have to remember this is not just a monument, but also a gravesite.

Lucy Lee Hill McGill. (The Puritan, March, 1898)

Interim City Attorney Haskell C. Brown III’s office is reportedly researching the ownership and removal restrictions surrounding the monument and Hill’s body. I have no doubt they are doing their due diligence. But as I proposed in my previous post, a historian or historians should be involved in this process.[1]

According to Virginia law, a body can’t be disinterred until ordered by a court in the jurisdiction and an application for disinterment submitted to the city, county registrar, or state registrar. Three disinterment permits must be then issued: one to the funeral service licensee, a second to the sexton or person in charge of the cemetery, and the third to be used during transportation and filed with the sexton or person in charge of the cemetery where the remains will be reinterred.

First, the city needs to crack open the statue’s pedestal and establish if Hill’s remains are inside. Once confirmed, they need to be removed following the procedures defined by Virginia law. The removal of the monument can come soon after.

I’ve identified two cemeteries that are the most appropriate locations to relocate Hill’s remains: Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, and Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper, Virginia. I mentioned both in my previous blog post about a month ago. I decided to investigate the pros and cons of each as a suitable location.

A.P. Hill’s father’s and mother’s headstone at Fairview. (Find A Grave)

Fairview Cemetery is located roughly one hour and 30 minutes northwest of Hill’s monument. Hill’s mother, father, two sisters, a brother, and other family members are buried in the cemetery. Colonel Henry Hill, A.P. Hill’s uncle, purchased 12 graves in Section OLD of the cemetery. Unfortunately, all of the graves are occupied, meaning that A.P. Hill could not be reinterred next to his kin. But the cemetery is still selling graves in the back of Sections D and E, so a grave could be purchased for him at Fairview. At least Hill would be able to buried at the cemetery his family originally intended to be his final resting place.

The second option is Hollywood Cemetery, located only 10 minutes away from the A.P. Hill Monument. Hollywood is much closer than Fairview, likely making it cheaper to transport the remains. Also, 25 Confederate generals are buried in this cemetery. One of Hill’s daughters, Lucy Lee Hill McGill, is buried in Section Q, Lot 15. (Her mother and sister are buried at Lexington Cemetery, in Lexington, Kentucky.) Section N, Plot 35, where Hill was originally buried until removed in 1892, is now occupied. (The cemetery is currently researching who is now buried here and if they have any ties to Hill.) Therefore, this exact spot is not an option. But surely space can be found somewhere else in the cemetery for Hill’s remains.

A.P. Hill’s daughter’s headstone at Hollywood. (Find A Grave)

There are two choices when it comes to General Hill’s headstone. The VA will provide a government-issued headstone free of charge. The only expense would be the cemetery’s installation fee (assuming they don’t waiver it). The inscription can be as simple as listing Hill’s date of birth, date of death, and rank. The other option is a privately purchased maker which will allow for more personalization. (Better not go overboard with it or we will end up in the same predicament as we’re in now.)

I do not recommend that the A.P. Hill Monument be placed at his fourth — and hopefully final — gravesite. There is already talk about removing Confederate monuments from national parks, so it could occur in cemeteries too. I don’t see much sense in moving it to one of these cemeteries, only to have to remove it at a later date. Besides, it would look quite out of place and could possibly attract vandalism within the cemetery. Once Hill’s remains have been removed and taken to one of these two cemeteries, the city can decide what to do with the monument and the other Confederate monuments currently in storage.

Confederate monuments dedicated to Jackson, F. Lee, Stuart, and other Confederate leaders in Richmond have already been removed. Hill’s monument presents a major obstacle since his remains are stored inside the statue’s pedestal. (Author’s collection)

My fear is that during the process of removing Hill’s monument that they will be quite surprised to find a body (even though they had fair warning). Even worse, I fear they might damage or destroy the remains. Does any soldier, regardless if he wore blue of gray, deserve that fate? I don’t think so. That’s why the city needs to have a good plan in place (backed up with good research) before removing the monument. The 60-day order may have been a blessing in disguise by giving the city adequate time to get their ducks in a row before acting. At least I hope this is the case.

 

Footnotes 

[1] Roberto Roldan, “Neighborhood Association Backs Removal Of AP Hill Statue, Remains,” VPM (June 29, 2020), https://vpm.org/news/articles/14531/neighborhood-association-backs-removal-of-ap-hill-statue-remains; Laura Perrot, “A.P. Hill’s gravesite presents unique challenge in monument’s removal,” 8News (July 8, 2020), https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/richmond/a-p-hills-gravesite-presents-unique-challenge-in-monuments-removal/; Laurel Wamsley, “Richmond, Va., Mayor Orders Emergency Removal Of Confederate Statues,” NPR (July 20, 2020), https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/07/01/886204604/richmond-va-mayor-orders-emergency-removal-of-confederate-statues; Brendan King, “A.P. Hill statue in Richmond won’t be removed, for now,” WVTR CBS 6 News (July 9, 2020), https://www.wtvr.com/news/local-news/a-p-hill-statue-in-richmond-wont-be-removed-for-now; Henry Graff, “Maury statue on Monument Avenue removed from pedestal; Mayor Stoney says 11 Confederate statues will be removed in total,” WWBT NBC12 (July 2, 2020), https://www.nbc12.com/2020/07/02/city-start-removal-maury-statue-monument-avenue/; WTVR CBS 6 Web Staff, “Judge grants injunction to halt removal of Confederate monuments,” WVTR CBS 6 News (July 9, 2020), https://www.wtvr.com/news/local-news/judge-grants-injunction-to-halt-removal-of-confederate-monuments; “Judge blocks removal of more Confederate statues in Richmond,” WTOP News (July 9, 2020), https://wtop.com/virginia/2020/07/crews-continue-work-to-remove-richmonds-confederate-statues/.

About Frank Jastrzembski

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Frank Jastrzembski studied history at John Carroll University (B.A.) and Cleveland State University (M.A.). He's written dozens of articles and two books on Victorian officers. Visit www.frankjastrzembski.com to view a complete list of his publications. When he is not writing, he travels with his wife, explores old cemeteries, plays wargames, and hunts for vintage military and political memorabilia.
This entry was posted in Memory, Monuments and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to The Saga of Lt. General A.P. Hill’s Remains Continues

  1. Diane Mcvey says:

    I totally agree that AP Hill’s grave must not be desecrated for a moment of cruel satisfaction by the most ignorant gangs I have ever seen.

    • Steve Swantek says:

      Diane you are so right. I live in N.Y. City. Yesterday I visited the area around city hall. What a sight. The front of city hall is desecrated with BLM slogans. So is the Surrogate Court across the street. The major, DeBlasio just leaves it for all to see. He is down with this behavior. A tent city is set up along side city hall by these anarchists. They have up signs, No Cop Zone. No Pigs allowed. If you enter their zone they check your I.D. I walked by the perimeter of their zone. It smelled like Piss.They are disgusting. But the mayor let’s this stand for weeks now. Remove them. By force. Clean up the city. Tourists don’t want to visit the city any more. Enough is enough. Final word. Protect the Monuments of the past. They will not hurt you.Let A.P. Hill rest in Peace.
      ..

  2. carsonfoardsbcglobalnet says:

    Thanks to the author for pointing out the complications of this removal. The idea that the monument would not go with his remains is unacceptable. This is the only monument in Richmond that is also a grave site. While a case can be made that its location in the middle of a now very busy road warrants reinterment, doing it in such a way that significantly alters the nature of the site is not in the spirit of a mutually agreeable solution to a practical problem. Hollywood Cemetery is the best solution for placing Hill’s remains and the monument. Re ‘whether the body is actually there’ is not relevant; its placement at the current site is well-documented.

  3. John Pryor says:

    Frank, I really can’t stand with you on this one. I understand the narrow fence you are perched on. The way you have been treated by the political actors in this matter show their absence of any desire to proceed save in the most politically expedient manner. You are attempting to impute a goodwill and pattern of adult behavior that does not exist. I am reminded of Neville Chamberlain in Munich, attempting to convince himself that the Chancellor really wanted peace. In the present case, in Richmond and elsewhere, a grave, Confederate or otherwise, means nothing to them. Otherwise, it would not have taken a court order to give them pause. As far as the monuments, why should we cooperate with these modern Communards. They looted Paris of hundreds of “offensive” statues in 1870 in pursuit of their brave new world. Or the Nazis, who destroyed over 10,000 French statues deemed “offensive”.

  4. johncfazio says:

    Mr. Jastrzembski: A fellow Clevelander (me) salutes you for striving to prevent the desecration of a soldier’s remains, irrespective of who or what he fought for. It is one thing to dismantle and remove a monument, memorial or statue and quite another to desecrate it. That said, how much worse must it be to desecrate the actual remains of the person honored, or purported to be honored, by the symbol. This is not even arguable. It is most regrettable that extremists have sullied what began as a legitimate movement of protest against racism and excesses of law enforcement. The protesters have made their point. It is now time, indeed it is past time, for everyone to go home and address the pandemic and the economic catastrophe that are ravaging our society and our country.

  5. Frank
    As a American and a veteran thank you for all the work and effort you are doing . What a shame and sad day it has come to this . Again Pres. Eisenhower issued a order making them American veterans as well . I HAVE YET TO FIND ANY ONE EXCEPT POLITICIANS AND THUGS WHO ARE IN FAVOR OF THIS REMOVAL OF MONUMENTS AND STATUES . With crime on the rise. a pandemic. and real slavery human trafficking could not the time and money be spent on that in stead ? They simply dont care about America .

    • Steve Swantek says:

      Frank you are totally correct. The removal of all this Historic Monuments is Un-American. Virginia use to be a proud state . Yes Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. Who is this crazy Richmond mayor. He’s another DeBasio. He’s part of the gang. Get rid of him.

  6. Glen Robertson says:

    “ No doubt the sooner the city removes the monument the better.” ECW is killing its brand daily.

    • Steve Swantek says:

      For over 150 years all these monuments existed . Now they have to come down because the “Gang” says so. They are a minority who will awaken the silent Majority. Leave the monuments alone. It’s our history. Stop trying to erase it. The statues will not hurt you. Especially the case of A.P. Hill. If this is his grave it is governed by Virginia Law. So deal with it in the proper way. Let A.P. Hill rest in Peace.

  7. grego says:

    Appreciate your good intentions, but you are delusional if you think anyone in the city government has any concern over disturbing A P Hill’s remains. I’m sure they would be fine with tossing the monument, and the General’s remains, in the city landfill.

    Would not be surprised if this monument, including the General’s remains, are suddenly removed any day now. Court injunction?? What do they care? Who is going to stop them? Who will hold this mayor or anyone in the city government accountable?

    • Wietske Moore says:

      It is an absolute disgrace that the statutes of American Veterans (thank you to the gentleman who mentioned this) are being removed and that the cowards in Richmond, especially the mayor, are so intent at disturbing memorials that are a remembrance to
      the history of this country. I am thoroughly disgusted that a percentage of the America citizenry have so much power and influence that what seems to matter to them overrides what matters to the rest of the Americans. You cannot change history and trying to remove and hide what offends someone is idiotic. We are entering a dangerous era in American history. I do not like the fact that slavery even existed but we cannot erase the fact that it did. I find it most interesting that with all the present day problems people and city/county officials feel the need to play judge and jury for the those who resided here over 160 years ago! To BLM protestors and officials why not focus on the murders of innocent children and innocent bystanders who happen to be caught in the crossfires of those so intent on murdering others? It baffles my mind that what occurred over a century ago is more important that what is happening today, they are destroying our country!!! There are few of any peaceful protests, one only has to look at Portland, Seattle, and Chicago to name a few cities to see what destruction is taking place! But by George we are going to take down Confederate statues!!!! This is incredibly asinine. What has happened to common sense? To the author of this article, please investigate and analyze the present day issues that are destroying America.

  8. Gary Daniel says:

    Declare A.P. Hill a Giant and the Smithsonian will collect him up and proceed to look we him for free.

  9. tramundohope says:

    Interesting. I am anxious to hear how this turns out

  10. Clarence says:

    CIA says to drop all of those confederate monuments and statues in the bottom of the ocean. Just as many of the slaves refused to be kept on those ships by jumping to their freedom into deep dark ocean. PRAISE GOD.

  11. Bill says:

    “No doubt, the sooner the city removes the monument, the better.” So, in other words Mr. Jastrzembski, you’re OK with the desecration and destruction of graves. Good to know that ECW supports that as well.

    • Ryan Quint says:

      As has been said in the past over and over again, the opinion/s of one author do not represent the opinion/s of ECW as a whole.

    • “No doubt, the sooner the city removes the monument, the better.” I’d agree with Bill. I expected that ECW (and other prominent civil war historians) would be history preservationists / interpreters…but with each blog concerning current events – ECW is implicitly or explicitly taking the side of the illiterate mob by advocating the purge of our history. I’ve got a better idea – stop pandering to mob mentality and leave A.P. Hill remains exactly where they are. And again – who is covering the cost of these removal “suggestions”? I’m certainly not authorizing my tax dollars to be spent on “assuaging feelings”! And expecting any response/guidance from Richmond officials is simply ludicrous. I would be discussing any disposition with family or descendants – NOT Mayor Stoney. The mayor’s unilateral intentions are crystal clear now. I look forward to the day the mayor is gone.

  12. Nick Mastrovito says:

    Well said. As a veteran, I do believe that we still need to honor our veterans regardless if the veteran later fought for the South. Not all Southerners were slave owners or for slavery just as not all Northerners were against slavery and not slave owners.

  13. John says:

    So let’s look at some more facts about good old A.P. Hill. Graduated from the West Point and became a commissioned officer in the United States Army, upon which he swore an oath to said country. He then served as an officer with apparent loyalty right up until he violated his oath and committed treason by joining a revolution against the country he swore the oath to in the first place, which, while still technically a hanging offence today, absolutely was a hanging offence in the 1850-1860’s.
    Hill then dies while in combat in 1865, after apparently having been quoted as saying he would “rather die than see the end of the Confederacy”. His body is buried in Chesterfield County because the Union had captured Richmond. His remains are Moved to Hollywood Cemetery in 1867, buried in his family plot, where they remained interred until 1895 when they were once again exhumed to be placed in the monument in Richmond. Look up the speech dedicating the monument and read the praise of the glory of the Conferacy and then think about 2 things;

    1) Was this ever intended to be a monument to a great person who advanced the values of the United States, and;

    2) Isn’t it just a bit hypocritical for anyone to complain about the “sacred remains of a fallen soldier” being moved when it seems like A.P.’s biggest supporters had no issue whatsoever in removing the already relocated remains from hiss family’s intended final resting place and placing them in a monument dedicated to propagating the glory of the Confederacy and The Lost Cause?

  14. Alton Bunn says:

    Thank you for your efforts in keeping this issue in the forefront. I sincerely hope General Hill receives a proper burial one last time hopefully in Culpeper in proximity to his family. I really think the city is looking to do what’s expedient and not what’s right to placate the mob.

  15. Pingback: Week In Review: July 13-19, 2020 | Emerging Civil War

  16. Ditto. What we are doing to memorials to veterns – Confederate or not – is disgraceful. Thanks for your efforts to show some respect for the remains of one general.

  17. 28 years in the US Army, I saw and appreciated many military monuments and memorials all across this country. From little country villages to the great monuments in D.C. But, you never really appreciate them the same way until you lose a buddy or two in armed conflict. Even the memorials that depict Lee or Jackson still call on the viewer to recall those who fell. that makes them memorials. This desecration of veteran memorials is deeply saddening.

    Tom Crane

  18. JOHN THAYER says:

    The War Between The States was NOT a “Civil War”. A civil war is what happens when the population of a single nation or region begins fighting with one another. Take, for example, the civil war that occurred in Northern Ireland or in Syria.

    The War of Southern Independence was fought between the United States of America (the Union) and the Confederate States of America (the Confederacy). Both had their own separate capitols, governments and organized armies.

    The institution of slavery played a part, but so did Mr. Lincoln’s raising of import taxes (tariffs) on the imported manufactured goods from Great Britain and Europe on which the agricultural Southern states depended. The Southern economy was based on exchanging farm products such as cotton, tobacco and rice for finished goods from the industrialized countries of the old world. Mr. Lincoln and his Northern industrialist backers wanted high import taxes because their new factories could not compete on price with old established companies of Britain and Europe which had already amortized the cost of their production facilities.

    Basically, the War Between The States was brought on by the desires of Northern industrialists to gain sales in Southern markets from which they were excluded due to their higher cost of production.

  19. WELL DONE BOUT TIME SOMEONE HAS AN HONEST FAIR ACCOUNTING OF THE REAL CIVIL WAR.

  20. Douglas Pauly says:

    I will say here what I have said on other threads on this site and elsewhere: this has NOTHING to do with the Confederacy at all, it has EVERYTHING to do with attacking the USA itself. The Confederate statues are merely a starting point, and are the excuse to go after virtually everything else. It is a political party today trying to eradicate their OWN history and culpability in what transpired from then to now. Look at how quickly all this has fueled the ‘cancel culture’ that is infesting our country! A small group of thugs and anarchists were given an inch, now they are taking the mile! The statues, ALL of them, were to be RELOCATED. But the damned MAYOR of Richmond saw to it that they were destroyed in place by mobs affiliated with his political party. And now the battlefields that were logical places for at least some of the statues and monuments are threatened with being targeted, and you can bank on the museums being next.

  21. Keith Guinn says:

    You can’t erase History! With all this vandalism and mass destruction without any consequences of what has happened you will see another CIVIL WAR ! People read your HISTORY and get it right .The MAJORITY have been misinformed about our First CIVIL WAR and the Cause ! There was a black Confederate regiment. Also their were blacks who owned black slaves. Schools don’t want to teach the TRUTH ! THE MEDIA DOESN’T WANT TO TELL THE TRUTH. ! REPAIR THE DAMAGE THAT HAS BEEN DONE AND HOLD THE PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE DAMAGE! ALLOW OUR PRESIDENT TO RUN OUR COUNTRY BY THE GRACE OF GOD AS IT SHOULD BE RUN . THE LAST I LOOKED WE ARE ONE NATION UNDER GOD ! AMEN!

  22. johncfazio says:

    To Mr.Thayer and others who believe that tariffs rather than slavery was the root cause of the war: To begin with, it IS a civil war if secession is deemed to be unlawful, and if it is unlawful, the establishment of forms of government (President, Vice President, cabinet, legislature, etc.) by the seceding faction does not make it lawful. The subject of secession was not addressed in the body of the Constitution, but it was addressed, by implication, in the Preamble, which provided that one of the purposes of the Constitution’s ordainment and establishment is “to form a more perfect Union”. That language can only be interpreted to contemplate a perpetual Union, because it is quite impossible to form a more perfect Union if there is no Union to be perfected. For this and other reasons, Lincoln and his Attorney General (Bates) concluded that secession was unlawful, as it is so held to be today.. Second, the tariff issue was largely put to rest by the compromise tariff of 1833, which settled the Nullification Crisis. The Morrill Tariff, which was not in the South’s interests, was passed in March, 1861, only because Southern Congressmen had already resigned their seats and were therefore not present to defeat it. Third, in the Southern states’ Ordinances of Secession and Declarations of the Causes of Secession, the threat to the institution of slavery posed by the Republican Administration is alluded to repeatedly as the reason for secession, but one searches in vain for any mention of tariffs, railroads or homesteading, or any other economic issue, as reasons for secession. Clearly, the only state right that Southern states would have seceded from the Union for and gone to war for, and did go to war for, was the right to own slaves. Fourth, Vice President Alexander Stevens stated categorically, in his “Cornerstone Speech”, that “…the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution” (i.e. the war) was the institution of African Slavery and “the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization”. Fifth, the Confederate Constitution expressly preserved and protected slavery in numerous provisions (e.g. Art. I, Sec. 9(1), 9(2) and (4), Art. IV, Sec. 2(1) and 3(3)). I conclude that, despite anti-slavery sentiment in the North being only lukewarm initially (it accelerated after the Emancipation Proclamation) and all but nonexistent in the South, slavery was indeed the root cause of the war, though it had multiple dimensions, including political, economic, social and cultural dimensions. This truth had relevance then (1861-1865), as far as the war itself was concerned, and has relevance today as far as Confederate monuments, memorials, statues and other symbols are concerned.

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