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  • Writer's pictureThe Naming Commission Facts

Fort A.P. Hill & Distraction Tricks

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

A.P. Hill and Virginians are difficult for The Naming Commission to evaluate because of the time of the state's secession and the fact that Virginia required a popular vote to for the Convention's April 17, 1861 secession ordinance to become valid in the eyes of the state. Like the other forts, a standard for voluntary service is never established & more distracting information is presented about Hill so you don't ask the serious question.



Like forts named for other Generals, the report makes claims without any sources clearly cited about the men and their relationship with slavery. A.P. Hill is also declared to be a slaveholder. However, there are two letters from family members, James Magill (Hill's Son-in-law) and Dr. George Ben Johnston (Hill's nephew), stating that Hill owned no slaves. The wiki page on Hill points to census records that an uncle with the same name was a slaveholder. Is this the source for the commissions claim? The fact that we are talking about this irrelevant distraction is part of the problem: we must hate Hill so we don't ask the hard questions about his "voluntary" service in the Confederate Army.


So when did A.P. Hill voluntarily serve with the Confederate Army? The answer to the question is why the commission is not sharing their standard for voluntary service: it isn't easy to answer under the laws and customs of 1861 America. As a fact, we do know that Hill resigned from the United States Military on March 30th, 1861. There is evidence that Hill immediately offered his services to Governor Letcher, and the first letter presented to support this is on April 22nd, 1861. Did I just do the commission's job? No, because Hill's offer is to his state Governor. Virginia's secession, in the eye of the state, did not become valid until the people voted on it the following month. While it is true that VA would make a military alliance with the Confederacy just a few days later, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution permits the state to do this if there is "imminent danger" or if there is an "actual invasion." Therefore, Hill's offer to serve his state could not be considered "voluntary service" to the Confederacy.


Based on the terms set by Congress, the fort cannot have a new name based on the report that the committee is filing. Congress must change the law or the committee must outline a standard that applies to A.P. Hill for "voluntary" service in the Confederate Army.


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