Hopewell, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Dr. Peter Eppes House
"At first we lived in tents, but later, when my husband became commander of the post, I lived most comfortably in a house...." - Septima M. Collis
The house Septima Collis lived "most comfortably" in during the last months of the Civil War had been built by Thomas and Martha Williams in 1859 on land they had purchased from Dr. Richard Eppes for $400. Septima's husband, Brigadier General Charles H.T. Collis, obtained the house for his headquarters when he became commander of the post in October 1864.
As a high ranking officer, Collis was permitted to have his family with him at City Point. Years later, Septina fondly remembered her time in the Eppes house. One evening, she and General Collis were enjoying an informal picnic supper in front of the fire. After an evening of horseback riding, the General and his wife threw a dozen James River oysters on the embers of a wood fire. Seated on the floor, Mrs. Collis was devouring the succulent bivalves which her husband opened. At that moment General and Mrs. Grant came to call, much to Septina's consternation - although, as she noted, her guests "enjoyed the situation
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 October 1864.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 37° 18.871′ N, 77° 16.554′ W. Marker was in Hopewell, Virginia. Marker was on Brown Avenue north of Maplewood Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Hopewell VA 23860, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named Dr. Peter Eppes House (here, next to this marker); Porter House (within shouting distance of this marker); The Peacemaker (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); One Soldier, One Family, One War (about 400 feet away); City Point, Virginia (about 400 feet away); City Point's Rails And Waterways (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named City Point (about 400 feet away); Appomattox Manor (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hopewell.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a photo of the house with the caption "A Zouave guard, a member of Collis's 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, stand before his commander's home and headquarters. Dr. Peter Eppes purchased the house after Thomas Williams's death in 1868. Since then, the house has been turned ninety degrees; the home's original front is now the south side."
On the upper right are portraits of Generals Ewell and Barringer with the caption, "Near the end of the war the Collises hosted captured Confederate officers, including Generals Ewell and Barringer. Mrs. Collis, who considered herself "quite a cordon bleu" presented an attractive menu consisting of superb raw oysters, green-turtle soup, a delicious James River shad, and a fillet of army beef. A bottle of whiskey and another of brandy and a cup of the good black coffee constituted the dinner. General Barringer later said it was the first square meal he had eaten in two years. When General Ewell questioned the Southern born Mrs. Collis's loyalty, she retorted that she had "only followed the example of many other Southrons" - hers being the "state of matrimony.""
On the lower right is a photo of Septima Collis with the caption, "Mrs. Collis resided in the Dr. Peter Eppes House with her husband and young daughter from October 1864 through the end of the Civil War. Because of her daughter's illness, Septima was allowed to remain in City Point even after the other ladies were evacuated, and thus witnessed the final weeks of the war, including President Abraham Lincoln's visit."
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has been replaced by the linked marker.
Also see . . .
1. The University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Documenting the American. A Woman's War Record, 1861-1865 by Septima M. Collis (Septima Maria), 1842-1917. New York; London: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1889. (Submitted on June 4, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
2. Stone Sentinels: Battlefield Monuments of the Civil War. Brevet Major General Charles H. T. Collis. (Submitted on June 4, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
3. The Civil War in the East. Brevet Major General Charles H. T. Collis. (Submitted on June 4, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 3, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,249 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 3, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. 2. submitted on June 4, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.