“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Jetersville in Amelia County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Overton / Hillsman House

War's Horror Knocks at the Door

Overton/Hillsman House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 26, 2007
1. Overton/Hillsman House Marker
The marker in "cleaner" times.
Inscription.  As night began to fall here on, April 6, 1865, the hard fought battles of Little Sailor's Creek and the crossroads near the Marshall Farm draw to a close. Federal surgeons work by the little natural light that's still available. They are inside the main doorways trying to save as many of the wounded as possible from both armies. Hospital stewards prepare men for surgery and assist with the gruesome task of amputating limbs, bandaging wounds, and trying to comfort the wounded.

This house, built by Moses Overton in the early 1770's, is occupied by the James Moses Hillsman family. Hillsman, a former Captain in the 44th Virginia Infantry, was captured at Spotsylvania in May, 1864, while commanding a detachment of sharpshooters, and is still a prisoner of war as battle rages across his farm. His wife Lucy Blanton Hillsman and mother Martha Overton Hillsman, two children and eight servants are forced to reside in the basement warming kitchen during the fight. The home will be used as the Sixth Corps field hospital. The family will experience the grim realities of war as the floor in the entry hall becomes soaked with blood and they hear the
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cries of the wounded and dying above.

Once surgeries are complete, the amputated limbs will be thrown outside and men are either carried outdoors to recover or placed in one of the house's four rooms. Before evacuating Hillsman's home, the Federals will bury their own dead temporarily on the farm until removed to Poplar Grove National Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia. The Confederate dead will be left unburied. For those men there will be no glory in war. Former Hillsman slaves will bury them in mass, unmarked graves on the battlefield. Afterwards, Lucy Hillsman will leave this house with her family, never to return.

(Sidebar):One of the wounded men, Lt. George Peck of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, described what he saw when taken into the house.

"An hour later it began to rain, so Private Lincoln went to the house to secure, if possible, my removal thither, for every officer had been quartered there as soon as he was brought in. He returned with a litter on which I was taken to the house. I was then placed on the floor of a room in which there were two beds each occupied by two severely wounded officers, while in the third corner, on the floor, were at least a half dozen more.

The only place found for me was in front of these beds; my head so close beside the hall doorway, where stood the operating table, with surgeons working the entire
Overton/Hillman House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, April 26, 2007
2. Overton/Hillman House
This house served as a hospital after the Battle of Sailors Creek on April 6, 1865. The marker has been moved to a location closer to the road and away from the house.
night, my body forming the bound of a passage - way to the kitchen door in the fourth corner, whence people continually passed and repassed. Yet when my wet clothes had been removed ... and myself wrapped in a couple of army blankets, I slept quietly, happily, until daylight."

Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1818.
Location. 37° 18.617′ N, 78° 13.273′ W. Marker is near Jetersville, Virginia, in Amelia County. Marker is on Saylers Creek Road (County Route 617) one mile south of James Town Road (County Route 618), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jetersville VA 23083, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hillsman House (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Sailor's (Sayler's) Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); Crossing Little Sailor's Creek (approx. 0.4 miles away); Assaulting the Confederate Battle Line (approx. half a mile away); The Final Clash: With Fate Against Them (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ewell’s Line of Defense (approx.
Overton / Hillsman House Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, April 18, 2010
3. Overton / Hillsman House Markers
0.6 miles away); Victory or Death (approx. 0.6 miles away); Battle of Sailors Creek (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jetersville.
More about this marker. In the upper center is a photo captioned, This 1934 photograph of the Overton/Hillsman House is similar to the way it appeared at the time of the battle in April 1865. An inset photo on the lower left shows Many of the wounded were placed in the yard around the house after surgery creating a scene much like this one.
Bed in the Hillsman House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, April 18, 2010
4. Bed in the Hillsman House
In the restored house, the rooms offer exhibits recreating the wartime appearance of the house.
Blood Stains image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, April 18, 2010
5. Blood Stains
Blood stains remain on the floor of the house, such as this location where the doctor's table stood.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2008, by Laura Troy of Burke, Virginia. This page has been viewed 4,579 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   3, 4, 5. submitted on June 12, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024