In 1940, the War Plans Division of the Army General Staff developed a plan to establish an army of 4 million men that would be capable of operating on both the East and West coast simultaneously. The plan also called for the establishment of a military reservation of approximately 60,000 acres to be used as a training facility.
The Bowling Green area of Caroline County, Virginia was selected as the site for the new military reservation. The citizens of Caroline County were opposed to the establishment of the military reservation because of the negative impact it would have on their community. Eventually the government got their wishes and moved forward with the plan. The military reservation was named Fort AP Hill in honor of the Confederate Civil War Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill.
In 1941, the government began to purchase property and the citizens were required to relocate. Many buildings including homes, churches and schools were demolished. Some churches moved to another location, others ceased to exist. Mica High School was the only school left standing. It became the headquarters for the military reservation. Graves were exhumed and moved to other cemeteries.
In the Spring of 2007, Fort A.P. Hill initiated an Oral History project to preserve the history of the communities that existed in the areas that were acquired to establish the A.P. Hill Military Reservation. As part of this project, researchers interviewed people who lived, worked or had knowledge about the people and communities prior to the government acquisition. They also collected photographs as well.
The final product of the project was a book titled Wealthy in Heart: Oral History of Life Before AP Hill. A ebook version of the book can be downloaded from the Fort AP Hill blog.
This video is a collection of photographs and recollections that were gathered as part of the Fort AP Hill Oral History Project. Courtesy Paciulli, Simmons & Associates, Ltd.
The Fort A.P. Hill Environmental Office contains many documents regarding the establishment of A.P. Hill. These documents contain of wealth of information regarding the communities and people that existed in the area and are valuable resources for those performing genealogy research on the families that lived in the area.
Many of the documents are contained on this website. The Cultural Resource Manager is the point of contact for any questions regarding these documents or genealogy questions. The main office number is (804) 633-8255.