Send A.P. Hill’s remains ‘back to his hometown’
8/12/2021, 6 p.m.
Re “ ‘From monument desecration to grave robbing,’ ” Letter to the Editor, Free Press July 29-31 edition:
I want to thank Mr. H.V. Traywick for yet another enlightening and amusing letter to the Free Press. Enlightening, because I appreciate knowing what’s going on in the 1890s. Amusing, because he refers to the Richmond government as “grave robbers” when it comes to plans to remove the A.P. Hill statue at the intersection of Hermitage Road and Laburnum Avenue.
Without getting into the politics of Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill and what his monument represents, Mr. Traywick may be interested to know that when it comes to A.P. Hill, the original grave robbers were in fact the Lost Cause folks he loves so much.
Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill was killed at Petersburg a few days before Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in 1865. In 1867, his remains were moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. In 1892, his remains were moved again — or grave-robbed as Mr. Traywick might put it — to where they currently are, under the monument at a busy intersection in Richmond.
Who moved his body twice? Well, I can assure it wasn’t youthful left wing agitators. And when he was moved to his current location, there were no cars, trucks or other vehicles flying through at a regular clip to get to Interstate 64 and elsewhere.
One can only assume Mr. Traywick does not have to pass this monument just about every time he drives into the city. I do; I live in Lakeside. The Hermitage/Laburnum intersection is a traffic nightmare. Just the other day, I saw an accident there. Every time someone must pass this monument, you come within inches of hitting its base. The monument could not be more obtrusive.
While Mr. Traywick no doubt doesn’t want to pay for expensive improvements to RVA’s infrastructure, removing this monument and modernizing the intersection is a great idea. Well worth the expense.
What to do with the Hill monument and the general’s remains? Well, A.P. Hill was not a Richmonder—not born here and didn’t go to school or die here. He was from Culpeper. Hopefully, his remains can be sent back to his hometown, where he can at last rest in peace. And I hope they’ll let Mr. Traywick visit the statue whenever he wants to.
DR. COLIN E. WOODWARD