“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hopewell, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

St. John's Episcopal Church

Four Centuries: City Point, Virginia 1613 A.D.

St. John's Episcopal Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 8, 2020
1. St. John's Episcopal Church Marker
During the Civil War this church served as a signal station for both the Confederacy and the Union. On May 5, 1864 Col. Samuel A. Duncan's brigade of United States Colored Troops (4th, 5th, and 6th U.S.C.T.) occupied City Point and this signal station without resistance. the 5th U.S.C.T. was the first to arrive and they captured code books and a group of Confederate signalmen were trying to send information to Petersburg about the arrival of the Union army. For a short time the church was used as a prison until the Bull Ring was complete.

The appearance of the church today reflects architectural modifications made in the 1890s.

[Captions and Aside:]
St. John's Church (on the left) served as a signal station for both the Union and the Confederacy. The buildings on the right were built by the Federals during the occupation.

Paulina Ruffin Eppes was a former slave of Dr. Richard Eppes. In 1939 when she was ninety years old, Paulina was interviewed by Judge Thomas Robertson and Roland Gill for the Works Progress Administration Writers' Program. Photographs of Paulina and a fellow worker
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for the Eppes family, "Uncle" George Wilson, were found in the Eppes files of the Virginia Historical Society.

Paulina Eppes spoke highly of Dr. Eppes, who, she said, provided good frame houses for his slaves. They wore warm clothes and she remembered linsey-woolsey dresses and long capes worn by the women. Mrs. Eppes said the food served on the Eppes plantation was very good. Dr. Eppes had the wheat grown there taken to the local mill to be ground, and served the slaves with "seconds." Other rations included "so many pounds of meat and so many herrings and a water bucket full of good porte [sic] Rico molasses to last two weeks." They had plenty of the usual vegetables.

Paulina remembered when the Yankees came a white sheet was run up on top of the house, in answer to the signals of the Union fleet on the river. When the shooting started they took shelter in the basement of Saint John's Church. Then Paulina and her people ran to Hopewell Farm (now the industrial area). Dr. Eppes's overseer took them to Eppes Island, then to Norfolk. They returned to City Point after the war and continued to work at Appomattox Manor.

Paulina Eppes and her husband, Henry, lived in a Civil War cabin for twenty years until it was removed from the grounds. She recalled Christmas and corn shucking as the happiest times. Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society.
St. John's Episcopal Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 8, 2020
2. St. John's Episcopal Church Marker

Erected 2013 by City of Hopewell, Commonwealth of Virginia.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionCommunicationsWar, US CivilWomen. A significant historical date for this entry is May 5, 1864.
Location. 37° 18.798′ N, 77° 16.62′ W. Marker is in Hopewell, Virginia. Marker is on Cedar Lane just south of Maplewood Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 510 Cedar Ln, Hopewell VA 23860, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Bull Ring At City Point (here, next to this marker); St. John's Episcopal Church Bell (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. Peter Eppes House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Porter House (about 600 feet away); City Point, Virginia (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named City Point (about 800 feet away); Appomattox Manor (about 800 feet away); General Grant's Headquarters (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hopewell.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Old Marker At This Location also titled "St. John's Episcopal Church".
Credits. This page was last revised on November 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 204 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 9, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jun. 20, 2024