RICHMOND, Va. -- As the remains of a Confederate general were unearthed Tuesday in Richmond, onlookers engaged in a sometimes-heated discussion with a few Sons of Confederate Veterans who also watched as workers finished removing the last city-owned Confederate monument.
The remains of Gen. A.P. Hill were removed a day after a statue of him was taken down on Monday.
The Washington Post reports that workers lifted a tarp for privacy as John Hill, who shared an ancestor with the general, helped a mortician gather the remains in a body bag. Richmond resident Devin Curtis, who is Black, approached a small group of Sons of Confederate Veterans members who were watching from the busy intersection where the statue stood for over a century.
Curtis asked why the men were wearing big Confederate battle flags on the back of their leather vests. They wouldn’t answer. Another white man defended the symbol, the discussion grew loud, and others joined in on both sides, several of them armed.
More than a half-dozen police officers converged. But Curtis and one of the Confederate supporters struck up a quiet conversation to the side. “I don’t like that flag, man, it hurts me so bad,” Curtis said.
“I understand. I don’t hate you,” said the white man, who declined to give his name to a reporter.
Curtis and the other man embraced.
Hill’s statue outlasted about a dozen others taken down since the social-justice protests of 2020. Its removal was more complicated because Hill's remains were buried underneath the monument.
City officials have said they plan to give the statue to the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy for most of the Civil War.
The Post reported that Hill's remains were found partially underground, below earth that had been mounded around the old foundation. The remains were to be interred in a plot in Culpeper, near where he was born.