The remains of a Confederate general, unearthed under a memorial in the middle of an intersection in Virginia, have been reinterred in a cemetery in his hometown.
Last month, Richmond, which served as the Confederacy capital for most of the Civil War, removed the statue of Confederate General AP Hill and the general’s remains buried beneath it, following a court battle. On Saturday, hundreds of people, including Confederate reenactors, gathered to pay their respects to the general at a ceremony at Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper, Hill’s hometown, The Free Lance-Star reported.
The coffin, draped in an old Virginia flag, was brought to the cemetery on a mule-wagon followed by a riderless horse. After a eulogy, song and prayers, there was a 21-gun salute and three shots were fired from one cannon.
Richmond removed other Confederate monuments amid the racial justice protests that followed the 2020 killing of George Floyd. Efforts to remove the Hill statue, which stood in the middle of a busy intersection, were more complicated, however, as the general’s remains were buried beneath it some 25 years after his death at the end of the Civil War.
In October, a judge ruled that city officials — not the descendants — get to decide where the Hill statue is taken next. City officials said the removed statue will be kept at an undisclosed location and later given to the Black History Museum and the Virginia Cultural Center. Attorneys for Hill’s indirect descendants agreed that his remains would be moved to a cemetery in Culpeper, near where Hill was born.
Many Confederate statues in Virginia were erected decades after the Civil War, during the Jim Crow era when states imposed new segregation laws, and during the Lost Cause movement when historians and others attempted to portray the Southern rebellion as a defensive struggle to represent state rights, not slavery. Some Confederate tributes remain in Richmond, but they are located on state lands, including in Capitol Square, which surrounds the Virginia State Capitol Building.
Ambrose Powell Hill died days before the end of the war in 1865, according to a timeline found in court documents, during a legal battle over the statue’s removal. His remains were buried in a family cemetery in Chesterfield County, according to a city petition to move the remains. The remains were moved to Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, in 1867, where they remained until 1891, when they were moved the following year to the site where the memorial was unveiled.