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History

If you have an interesting story about Traylor Estates or a photograph from a social event or happening in the area you would like to share, please pass it along. Maybe you have pictures of your Christmas decorations from the neighborhood decorating contests that used to take place, or photos of your site before and during your house being built.  We are still looking for a photograph of the Traylor Estates gateway sign that was up when the neighbor hood was first being developed. 

How a Confederate General came to be Buried (temporarily) in Traylor Estates

Federal troops of the Sixth Corps of the Army of the Potomac launched an all out attack on Petersburg. The Confederate lines were broken, Petersburg was falling.

General Ambrose Powell Hill, who gained early fame as the commander of “Hill’s Light Division” under Stonewall Jackson’s command, left his headquarters very early in the morning on April 2, 1865 to meet with General Robert E. Lee.

After conferring with Lee and James Longstreet at Lee’s headquarters and hearing more grim news from Colonel Charles Venable on the movement of enemy troops, General A. P.  Hill jumped on his favorite steel gray mount Champ, and with two couriers rode off to check on the breach in the battle line and see what could be done.

They came upon two Federal soldiers, ordered them to surrender and then Hill had one of the couriers leave to take the prisoners back to General Lee. Now with only one escort, Hill continued southwest trying to get in touch with General Heth.

General Hill and the remaining orderly, George Tucker came upon two soldiers from the 138th Pennsylvania Infantry, the soldiers upon seeing the approaching riders ducked behind a tree. Hill and Tucker yelled “Surrender!”. Shots were fired, Tucker was missed but a bullet found Hill. The shot went through his gauntlet and cut off his left thumb then through his chest and out his back, Hill fell to the ground.  Tucker caught the bridle of Champ and rode back to headquarters to tell Lee.

Dolly, General Ambrose Powell Hill’s wife, lived near headquarters in a cottage; it was her custom to stay near Powell on campaign. After learning of his death she wanted her husband to be buried in the prestigious Hollywood Cemetery. In the confusion of the collapse of Petersburg and therefore Richmond, no officials from the cemetery could be found and thus no arrangements could be made. The family decided to take Hill home to Culpeper. The next day the General’s body was sent by ambulance to Richmond with a driver and Henry Hill Jr., a nephew of the General and son of Colonel Henry Hill, Paymaster General of Virginia, brother in law and first cousin of A. P. Hill. The family was to gather at the Richmond refugee home of Thomas Hill, brother in law of General Hill and then continue to Culpeper.   A.P. Hill’s two sisters had married brothers, Thomas and Henry Hill(cousins?). The home of Thomas Hill was located in Chesterfield County on the James River just below the old Bellona Arsenal. The roads were crowded with people fleeing Petersburg. As the ambulance driver and Henry Hill Jr. made their way towards Richmond, the city was being evacuated and there were long delays. The General’s nephew arrived at the office building of the Paymaster General on 12 th and Franklin Streets with the ambulance where his other nephew, G. Powell Hill was to meet him.  The body had not been prepared for burial and a coffin was needed. The stores all along the street had been broken into, looted and set on fire. Belvin’s Furniture store was open, but no salesmen were present so a coffin was procured and the General was quickly placed inside the too small coffin.  The nephews Hill and driver made their way out of the city by way of 14th Street and Mayo’s Bridge, slowly riding the ambulance through Manchester and up the river to the refugee home of Thomas Hill.  It was now April 4, the General’s family had not arrived, the condition of his remains in the early April heat were such it was believed it would be better to give him a temporary burial than to try and travel over one hundred miles to Culpeper. A rough case for the coffin was made and a grave dug. General Ambrose Powell Hill was buried in the old Winston burying-ground on April 4, 1865.  At the end of the war, relatives wanted to move the General to his hometown of Culpeper but his army associates asked that this task be assigned to them. His former staff officers wanted to honor his memory by moving the body from the Winston plot to Hollywood Cemetery, the burial place of many Confederate Generals. The remains were unearthed in the fall of 1867 and buried again in Hollywood Cemetery. In 1891, A. P. Hill was moved again and placed under the statue erected in his honor at the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road. This monument is the only one in Richmond where the honoree is actually interred. The first burial spot for General Ambrose Powell Hill is in a lovely wooded area, where the Winston family burial site still remains at the end of Wainfleet Drive in Traylor Estates.