During the Civil War, in the winter of 1863-64, General Lee camped on the east side of town with his 15,000 men. General Ambrose Powell Hill, commanding III Corps of Lee's Army, headquartered at the Willis home (now Mayhurst Inn). He commanded over 18,000 men from his tent on the front lawn.
His wife, Kitty, was with him at Mayhurst that winter as a house guest of John and Lucy Willis. The winter encampment provided many opportunities for social occasions, which included General Lee at the Willis home. One of A. P. Hill's daughters, Lucy Lee Hill, was born that winter. Her Godfather, General Lee, held her in his arms throughout the christening ceremony at Mayhurst on May 1, 1864. The christening scene has been recently recreateed by renowned historical artist, Mort Kunstler, in a painting entitled "Tender is the Heart". A Giclee Print of the scene stands in the Mayhurst Parlor where the ceremony took place.
Nearly two years earlier, General "Stonewall" Jackson's cavalry was in the Orange area fighting the Federal cavalry on Main Street on August 2, 1862. On August 6, the Willis household notices a man seated and resting on their gatepost. Someone is sent out to offer assistance. It is General "Stonewall" Jackson, who is invited to stay the night, he accepts.
Last Updated: 7/22/2011 4:50 PM