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[352]

Unveiling of the statue of General Ambrose Powell Hill at Richmond, Virginia, May 30, 1892.

With the Oration of General James A. Walker on the occasion.


[From the Richmond Dispatch, May 31, 1892.]

Richmond is a city of memories and it must also be a city of monuments; monuments which entwine our hearts with the past and pledge us to a patriotic future.

We have now a monument in Oakwood cemetary to the sixteen thousand dead buried there; a granite column (nearly finished) in Marshall Park (Libby Hill) to all of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy; a statue to Stonewall Jackson in the Capitol Square; a granite pyramidal pile to the twelve thousand Confederate dead in Hollywood, and in the same cemetary monuments over the graves of Pickett, Stuart, Maury and others; a statue of Wickham in Monroe Park, and an equestrian statue of Lee at the west end of Franklin street. Our duty in this respect to A. P. Hill is also done, and movements are on foot to do like honor to President Davis and to ‘JebStuart.

The people of Richmond gave themselves up on the 30th of May heartily and enthusiastically to the two great events to which the day had been dedicated—the unveiling of the statue of General Ambrose Powell Hill and the Hollywood memorial ceremonies.

The 30th of May, 1892, has passed into history as a date on which the patriotic pulse was regnant. The scenes of the morning fill another tablet to be laid away along with those on which are inscribed the records of the unveiling of the Jackson and Hill statues. The scenes of the afternoon were a repetition in large measure of what has occurred annually for over two decades, but they never lose their freshness, nor can they become less pregnant with a beautiful and touching lesson as time rolls on.

The note of preparation for the actual demonstration began Sunday afternoon. On every train military companies and camps were arriving, and by midnight the man seen on the street who did not have on uniform or wear a badge was the exception. [353]

In the morning companies, camps and veterans unattached began to move to the assembly-grounds as early as 9 o'clock, and by 10 o'clock the whole western section of the city was stir and bustle.


Hill's followers here.

The rumble of artillery, the flash of sabres, the gleam of bayonets, the waving of battle-flags, the tramp of infantry and squadrons of cavalry, the notes of the bugle, and the martial music of the bands made the occasion one intensely inspiring. Marked in the throng by every one were the men who wore the badge of the Thirteenth Virginia, Hill's old regiment. Some of these survivors look even now as if they had not passed middle age, but the majority of them are gray-haired, and have left behind the half-century mile-stone on the road of life.

Another organization whose members attracted special attention wherever they were seen was the Pegram Battalion Association. All the veterans were recipients of general recognition and evoked enthusiastic greeting, but the Thirteenth survivors and the Pegram Battalion survivors were more distinctively noticeable by their badges, and perhaps more prominently associated in the public mind with Hill.

Two focal points of interest before the procession moved were the Mechanics' Institute and the residence of Major Thomas A. Brander, corner of Franklin and Fourth streets. At the former, the headquarters of the Pegram Battalion Association, the aids reported to the chief marshal, and orders were being sent out every few minutes by them. At the latter the ladies who were to occupy seats in carriages assembled, and were assigned by Colonel J. V. Bidgood.


Crowds on the streets.

The sidewalks along the route of the procession, from Fifth and Franklin to Richmond College, were lined with people. Certainly there has been no such outpouring of all classes since the unveiling of the Lee monument, and certainly the spirit of the occasion was manifest in every face. The demonstration on the streets was an honor to Hill, an honor to the cause none contributed more than he to make glorious, an honor to Richmond. [354]

The march was a long, hot and dusty one, but those in line, including the veterans, stood to it with splendid steadiness. Many of the latter bore on their bodies the scars of battle, and others were broken in health from exposure in camp or bivouac, but there was about the column something of that grim determination of the days when their dauntless courage, their fortitude, and their disregard for all obstacles that confronted them made the armies of the the Confederacy the admiration of the world.


Respect to General Lee.

The march was devoid of interest, except repeated cheering and waving of handkerchiefs, until the parade reached the Lee monument. Here the colors were dipped, the infantry came to a carry, and then a reverse, the veterans, the cavalry, and the artillery also saluted, and the bands played dirges. After leaving this point the column broke into a rout step, which was continued to the site of the Hill monument, where the different organizations were assigned positions.

The actual ceremonies of the unveiling occupied about an hour and ten minutes; and, save for the dust, the crowd suffered very little inconvenience, as a delightful breeze was blowing all the time.


March through the streets.

A splendid parade of military and Veterans viewed by an enthusiastic throng.


There was an unusually large crowd of visitors in the city, and as their numbers were greatly augmented by the military and veterans from various portions of the State, the streets were thronged from early morn till late at night. The hotels were packed, and every train added to the multitude, which seemed to grow as the hours wore on. Broad street, especially in the neghborhood of the Regimental Armory, was literally jammed in the early part of the morning, and for several squares around the thoroughfares were almost blockaded.

Most of the visiting military reached here on Sunday, and as the various organizations arrived they were met at the depots by the local volunteers and escorted to their quarters. Throughout the Sabbath, and even until 9 or 10 o'clock yesterday morning the [355] armory was like a bee-hive, and hundreds of men were pouring back and forth, while a crowd was constantly in front of the building. Guards were posted at the doors to keep back the public, and these were on duty from early Sunday morning until the troops formed in line yesterday.

The visiting soldier boys were evidently enjoying themselves as much as possible, and before the column moved they could be seen scattered about in every direction.


Crowds on the street.

The parade, which was one of the leading features of the day, was the finest display of military and veterans seen in this city since the Lee monument unveiling, and attracted universal attention. Thousands of people lined the streets from the Capitol square, where the various organizations began to fall in, up to the Lee-Monument grounds. The porches and verandas along the route were crowded with pretty girls, who cheered and waved their handkerchiefs to the troops as they passed.

A few minutes after 9 o'clock the formation of the magnificent column was commenced, and the various companies, troops and batteries began falling in. Broad street from Fifth to Ninth, and Marshall from the Armory to Ninth fairly swarmed with soldiery, and the thoroughfares looked as if the city had been besieged by a mighty invading host. The flash of the musketry and the gleaming of the cavalry and artillery sabres were truly an inspiring sight, which was rendered still more imposing by the appearance of the veterans, nearly all of whom wore the Confederate gray. Hundreds of badges with the colors of the Lost Cause were sold upon the streets, and many of these were worn upon the coat lapels of those who marched in the long line.

The arrangements for the formation of the procession had been made with great care and precision, but some little difficulty was experienced in getting the various organizations in exactly the right places. The column was, therefore, a trifle late moving. The order to ‘forward, march!’ was given a few minutes before 11 o'clock. Grace street from Ninth to Fifth, the first part of the route, was literally jammed with men, women, and children, and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed when the procession started amidst the strains of inspiring music and the hurrahs of the multitude.


[356]

The police, marshal and aids.

A squad of mounted police under command of Captain E. P. Hulce, of the Third District, rode at the head of the line. The ‘blue coats’ all wore their helmets of gray, and presented an excellent appearance. Behind these came the chief-marshal, General Harry Heth, who wore a buff sash and looked every inch a soldier as he sat erect on his prancing charger. He was followed by Colonel William H. Palmer, his chief of staff, whose sash was white. The aids, all of whom wore red sashes, were as follows:

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