AMBROSE POWELL HILL, CSA - History

AMBROSE POWELL HILL, CSA - History


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VITAL STATISTICS
BORN: 1825 in Culpepper, VA.
DIED: 1865 in Petersburg, VA.
CAMPAIGNS: Williamsburg, Mechanicsville, Seven Days, Gaines' Mill, Frayser's Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Petersburg.
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Lieutenant General.
BIOGRAPHY
Ambrose Powell Hill was born on November 9, 1825, in Culpeper, Virginia. He graduated from West Point in 1847, and fought in the Mexican War. He also worked for the office of the superintendent of the Coast Survey, and fought in the Third Seminole War. In March of 1861, Hill resigned from the US Army, and joined the Confederacy as colonel of the 13th Virginia Infantry. He was appointed a brigadier general on February, 1862. After fighting at Williamsburg in May, he was given command of a division, and promoted to major general on May 26, 1862. He and his troops began the Seven Days' Campaign with the Battle of Mechanicsville. Hill and his unit, known as "Hill's Light Division," also led attacks at Gaines' Mill and Frayser's Farm. Joining Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Hill's troops developed a reputation for being one of the most effective fighting units. They took part in the Battles of Cedar Mountain, Bull Run (Second), Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After Maj. Jackson's death, Gen. Robert E. Lee reorganized the Confederate army, and promoted Hill to lieutenant general on May 24, 1863. He was placed in command of the III Corps, but served without distinction. Although he participated in the Battle of Gettysburg, he did not play an active role. He also took part in the Battle of Bristoe Station, but his assault caused 1,300 casualties. After serving in the Battle of the Wilderness, he became ill and had to miss the fighting at Spotsylvania. Illness again, either real or imagined, caused him to miss fighting at Petersburg. The day he returned from sick leave, Hill was shot by two Union soldiers from the VI Corps. He died the same day, on April 2, 1865, and was buried in Richmond, Virginia.

Hill, A. P.

Hill, A. P. (1825�), Confederate general.Born in Culpeper County, Virginia, Hill graduated from West Point in 1847, fifteenth in a class of thirty𠄎ight. While still a cadet he contracted gonorrhea, which caused recurrent prostatitis that afflicted him physically and psychosomatically for life. Hill served in the Mexican War and the Seminole Wars his 1859 marriage to Kitty Morgan was a happy one that produced four daughters. After Virginia seceded in 1861, Hill resigned he was appointed Confederate colonel of the 13th Virginia Infantry and fought at First Manassas. Promoted to brigadier general in February 1862, and major general in May 1862, Hill's Light Division became deservedly renowned during the Civil War for its fighting abilities his energetic leadership distinguished him at the Seven Days' Battle, as well as the Battle of Fredericksburg, and the Battle of Antietam, where his timely arrival saved Robert E. Lee's right flank. In May 1863, he was promoted lieutenant general after “Stonewall” Jackson's death at Chancellorsville, assigned command of the Army of Northern Virginia's new III Corps, and led it from Gettysburg to the Wilderness. After 1863, repeated illnesses and quarrels with superiors marred Hill's temperamental leadership, especially during the 1864� Wilderness to Petersburg Campaign. Shortly after returning from sick leave, he was killed on 2 April 1865 at Petersburg by a Union infantryman while attempting to reconnoiter lines and rally his troops.
[See also Civil War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]

William W. Hassler , A. P. Hill: Lee's Forgotten General , 1979.
James I. Robertson, Jr. , General A. P. Hill: The Story of A Confederate Warrior , 1987.

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Virginia Democrats Plan to Dig Up Grave of Confederate General A.P. Hill, No Plan To Move Coffin

/>by Frankie Stockes

Led by Mayor Levar Stoney and backed by Governor Ralph Northam, anti-history Democrats in Richmond, Virginia are finalizing plans to dig up the remains of Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill, who lies beneath a towering statue dedicated in his honor and now marked for removal amidst efforts to erase all traces of the Confederacy from its former capital.

Though nearly all of Richmond’s other Confederate monuments were removed amid the fatal Black Lives Matter and Antifa-led riots that gripped the city in 2020, the statue and resting place dedicated to Confederate General A.P. Hill stayed put, with officials reportedly having trouble finding legal authority to desecrate the grave. Now, under a new set of plans being considered by Richmond’s Commission of Architectural Review, the grave site is designated a threat to traffic safety, conveniently providing the city’s Democrat-dominated government with the authority to remove it.

The grave and statue, however, have existed in the same location since 1892, when the City of Richmond assisted the Hill Monument Association in finding a location to move Hill’s body and erect the statue. At the time, the grave site was described by a local newspaper as “a very beautiful one at the corner nearest the city of Major Ginter’s country place.” The land itself was donated by The Ginter Real Estate Development Company, owned by Major Lewis Ginter, who served under Hill prior to his death. The statue and relocation of Hill’s remains cost an impressive $15,000, equivalent to $440,198.90 in 2021.

According to the removal plans, which are expected to sail through the approval process, workers will remove the bronze statue of the General before destroying its stone pedestal and removing the sarcophagus containing his remains. Details of what the city plans to do with Hill’s remains are unclear, and the project is estimated to carry a taxpayer-funded price tag of over $33,000.

“I think we have drawn this out as long as we can and longer than it should have been,” City Councilman Mike Jones said of the grave site’s desecration. “I know that so many Richmonders are just ready for this saga to be over so we can put a pin in this portion of our painful past,” said Jones, who also called the General’s resting place a “painful trinket of white supremacy.”

In a statement to National File, Barry Isenhour, a spokesman with the Virginia Flaggers, a group dedicated to celebrating and preserving Confederate history, blasted the city’s plans, accusing the “degenerates” running Richmond of cowering to anti-history “social justice terrorists.”

“It comes as no surprise to us that the degenerates in Richmond have announced plans to desecrate the grave of a war veteran by literally digging up his remains in their ongoing quest to eliminate any trace of the city’s history and heritage which might happen to ‘offend’ the small but howling mob of social justice terrorists,” said Isenhour. “As Thomas Carlyle observed, ‘It takes men of worth to recognize worth in men.’ That leaves those in charge in Richmond, OUT.”

A pivotal but lesser-known figure in Confederate history, Hill, affectionately known throughout the Confederacy as “Little Powell,” was a Culpeper, Virginia-born West Point graduate. Opposed to slavery, Hill resigned his commission in the United States Army upon Virginia’s 1861 secession, going on to command the Army of Northern Virginia’s Light Division and quickly gaining a reputation as one of the Confederate Army’s ablest officers.

A true believer in his native southland’s fight for independence, Hill reportedly stated he’d rather die than see the end of the Confederacy and was later killed in combat during the Siege of Petersburg, in the closing days of the war.

When General Robert E. Lee was informed of Hill’s death, aides reported the General being overcome with emotion before stating, “he is at rest now, and we who are left are the ones to suffer.” Years later, as Lee lay on his death bed, witnesses described Hill’s name being among the last words the General uttered.

As previously reported by National File, Virginia has become an epicenter in the fight to preserve American history. In recent weeks, officials at the Virginia Military Institute announced a Soviet-style purge of the school’s Confederate history that will include ripping General Stonewall Jackson’s name away from his own words and reattributing them to figures more palatable to the left.


A.P. Hill’s Death Wish?: The Problem with Using Quotes

Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill rode to his death during the immediate aftermath of the April 2, 1865 breakthrough at Petersburg. Hill sought to meet Major General Henry Heth at the division commander’s Pickrell house headquarters. Instead he encountered Pennsylvania soldiers John Mauk and Daniel Wolford just 800 yards from his objective. Some have speculated that the reckless nature of his final journey meant that Hill may have been going out in a blaze of glory—a suicide by Yankee. As proof, they quote Hill saying less than a week before his death that he did not want to survive a Confederate defeat. Historians, however, should be wary of interpreting anything more from that supposed statement.

A skilled brigade and division commander, Hill failed to duplicate that success at the corps level. He had feuded with Stonewall Jackson and could not live up to the high expectations as his somewhat successor (Jackson’s command was divided between Hill and Richard S. Ewell). Hill suffered from illness frequently during the last year of the war. His Third Corps played an important role in the Petersburg campaign, but the general was a relative non-factor.

On March 20, 1865 Hill took a brief leave of absence to restore his health. He stayed at his extended family home in nearby Chesterfield County. Both the Thomas and Henry Hill families are shown to be living or seeking refuge on the property. Uncle Henry worked as a Confederate paymaster in Richmond and the general accompanied him into the city on March 29th. George Powell Hill, one of Thomas’s sons, also worked in the paymaster department. He afterward wrote that A.P. Hill did not wish to live if the city fell. Here is the relevant excerpt from G. Powell Hill’s statement:

During this visit to my father’s home he accompanied Colonel Hill to Richmond, and while seated in our office talking with several prominent citizens who had called to pay their respects, the subject of the evacuation of the city was touched upon, which seemed to annoy the General, and he remarked that he did not wish to survive the fall of Richmond.

Thus it should be noted that the quote is just a secondhand source and not an actual written or documented statement. However, if an author writes that Hill said he did not “wish to survive the fall of Richmond” it implies that it is a direct quote, which can therefore be construed as proof that Hill was indeed trying to get himself killed on April 2nd. The author might not even have such an agenda. It is awkward to work the G. Powell Hill postwar account detail into a narrative flow. Footnotes allow for clarification but there is no guarantee the reader will consult them. It is too easy to simply see “did not wish to survive the fall of Richmond” and accept it as fact.

The entire account from George Powell Hill should also be treated as what it is. Though an incredibly useful resource for learning about the first of three burials for A.P. Hill, Powell’s statement is not a window into the general’s mind. The article was written in 1891 when Hill’s body was being dug up for the second time to be reinterred as the centerpiece for new development north of Richmond. Recalling events after a quarter century is challenging enough, determining someone else’s personal opinion is nearly impossible.

Regardless of his mindset at the end of the campaign, General Hill returned to command on April 1st. He spent the last day of his life inspecting his lines from Hatcher’s Run to Battery 45, and settled in for a restless night at the Venable house on Petersburg’s outskirts, where his pregnant wife and two young daughters slept. Kept awake by Union artillery fire, Hill saddled up at about 3 a.m. to ride to Lee’s headquarters a mile and a half to the west at Edge Hill. Along the way he learned that his own lines were under attack. He discussed strategy with Lee and James Longstreet until sometime after 5 a.m. when Lieutenant Colonel Charles Scott Venable brought news that Federal infantry had broken through along the Third Corps position.

Hill immediately wanted to meet with Heth, the division commander responsible for the Confederate fortifications from the Hart house south to Hatcher’s Run. He was accompanied by Venable and couriers George Washington Tucker, William Henry Jenkins, and George Percy Hawes during various stages of his ride from army toward division headquarters. A small component of infantry briefly attached themselves as escorts but Hill shed his companions along the way until only Tucker remained for the final showdown with the Pennsylvania pair.

Corporal Mauk’s bullet struck Hill but Private Wolford missed Tucker and the courier hastily escaped to inform Lee of Hill’s death. In 1883 Tucker wrote his recollections for the Philadelphia Weekly Times “Annals of the War” series. The account is highly reliable as a guide to the progress of Hill’s last ride and in describing the encounter with the Pennsylvanians. Mauk also wrote several accounts of his shot that killed Hill. The Union and Confederate versions proved remarkably consistent.

Tucker’s article portrayed the general as distant and impatient. He claims to have ridden along Cattail Run at Hill’s side but the general hardly spoke to him.

Proceeding still further and General Hill making no further remark, I became so impressed with the great risk he was running that I made bold to say: “Please excuse me, General, but where are you going?” He answered: “Sergeant, I must go to the right as quickly as possible.” Then, pointing south-west, he said: “We will go up this side of the branch to the woods, which will cover us until reaching the field in rear of General Heth’s quarters, I hope to find the road clear at General Heth’s.”

… When going through the woods, the only words between General Hill and myself, except relating to the route, were by himself. He called my attention and said: “Sergeant should anything happen to me you must go back to General Lee and report it.”

Tucker claimed that he spurred his horse ahead of Hill as they crossed an open field in order to reach a swampy forest opposite Heth’s headquarters on the Boydton Plank Road. When two-thirds of the way across the field they spotted Mauk and Wolford in the treeline running perpendicular to the plank road and additional Union soldiers further into the woods.

I looked around to General Hill. He said: “We must taken them,” at the same time, drawing, for the first time that day, his Colt’s navy pistol. I said: “Stay there, I’ll take them.” By this time we were within twenty yards of the two behind the tree and getting closer every moment. I shouted: “If you fire, you’ll be swept to hell! Our men are here – surrender!” When General Hill was at my side calling “surrender,” now within ten yards of the men covering us with their muskets (the upper one the General, the lower one myself,) the lower soldier let the stock of his gun down from his shoulder, but recovered quickly as his comrade spoke to him (I only saw his lips move) and both fired. Throwing out my right hand (he was on that side) toward the General, I caught the bridle of his horse, and, wheeling to the left, turned in the saddle and saw my General on the ground, with his limbs extended, motionless.

Tucker’s narrative is wonderfully quotable and all modern versions rightfully utilize his dialogue, even though the exact exchange had likely been altered after eighteen years. Removing those quotes and all others in similar situations would certainly make history rather boring, but, if they are to remain, readers should be wise to not accept them as gospel.

Furthermore, Tucker’s account showed that it was Hill who acted recklessly during the ride. Colonel William Henry Palmer, Hill’s chief of staff, believed that Tucker misrepresented which of the pair was aggressive that morning. Palmer remained at Third Corps headquarters until he received news from Edge Hill that the Confederate lines were under attack. He traveled to Major General Cadmus Wilcox’s division headquarters inside Petersburg’s Dimmock Line (the main set of entrenchments surrounding the city) and then rode toward army headquarters by way of the Boydton Plank Road and Long Ordinary Road.

Palmer claimed that he encountered Tucker at that road junction as the courier frantically returned from Hill’s death site. Supposedly Tucker informed the chief of staff about what happened as the two rode together to Lee’s headquarters. In a November 8, 1902 letter to Captain Murray Forbes Taylor, a Third Corps aide-de-camp, Palmer stated that Tucker had changed his story in between that fateful April morning and the 1883 publication. Palmer believed Tucker did so to shift blame from himself, writing:

Gen’l Hill lost his life doing a chivalrous thing. When Tucker rushed forward, & ordered the two skirmishers behind the tree, to surrender, Gen’l Hill for the moment remained behind on a slight elevation. He saw that they were going to fire on Tucker, & were not going to surrender. It was no longer a Lieut General and his courier. He spurred his horse to Tucker’s assistance. It was man to man. Tucker told me that he had no idea that Gen’l Hill was near until he heard the snort of the Gen’ls horse, just as the two skirmishers fired.

Palmer believed that he would have been a better escort to Hill that morning and regretted that the general had ordered him to remain at corps headquarters for further instructions.

If the General had have allowed me to accompany him [I] have always felt assured that I could have impressed him with the importance of avoiding scattering parties of the enemy & the keeping well to the right near the Cox Road… I say this because I had influence with him about such matters, & feel assured that on two occasions during my service I saved him from wounds by cautioning him & taking precautions for him.

The chief of staff believed that Hill acted as he normally would in battle and that Tucker’s careless desire to capture Mauk and Wolford led to the general’s death. Of course that cannot be proved either, but Palmer’s objection to Tucker’s account demonstrates that there are plenty of rational reasons to explain the bizarre encounter between Hill and the Pennsylvanians.

During the lectures and tours I have led about Hill’s death I have found the “suicide by Yankee” scenario is nevertheless popular. Those who promote that idea use the same reasoning, based in part on Hill’s illness and a speculated but ungrounded desire by the general to restore his legacy, but primarily reliant on the quotes from George Powell Hill and George Tucker. Eliminating those quotes dries up the story so I’m not advocating their exclusion entirely. I freely used them in my chapter on Hill’s death in Dawn of Victory. With disclaimer, I will continue to do so. But what worked for narrative is unreliable for analysis.

Many people are drawn to the Civil War because of its rich personalities, but we should be cautious in trying too hard to think that we can therefore fully understand them. The quotes that make Hill’s last ride compelling portray him as acting too reckless but they were written several decades after the war. Despite their appearance in quotation marks, they were not the general’s actual dialogue. Remove that hearsay evidence from the notion that Hill willingly rode to his death and that theory falls apart.

George W. Tucker, “Death of General A.P. Hill,” Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 11 (Richmond, VA: Published by the Society, 1883).

G. Powell Hill, “First Burial of General Hill’s Remains,” Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 19 (Richmond, VA: Published by the Society, 1891).

William H. Palmer to Murray F. Taylor, November 8, 1902, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.


Jefferson Davis, a West Point graduate, served in the Black Hawk War under the command of Zachary Taylor, whose daughter he later married. He left the Army, started a plantation in Mississippi and began a political career before he returned to serve as a colonel in the U.S. Army in the Mexican-American War. As Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce, he built up the Army and suggested routes for the transcontinental railroad. Due to his strong military and political credentials, he was elected president of the Confederate States of America. He was a less effective war leader than Lincoln, even though Lincoln had little military experience. In 1978, the Senate posthumously restored his U.S. citizenship. President Jimmy Carter referred to this as the last act of reconciliation in the Civil War.

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Ambrose Powell Hill

Ambrose Powell Hill began his military career after graduating 15th out of 38 from the United States Military Academy in 1847. After graduation he served with an artillery unit during the Mexican-American War as well as the Seminole War.

On March 1, 1861, Hill resigned from the United States Army and became a colonel of the 13th Virginia, commanding a unit at the Battle of First Manassas. On February 26, 1863, Hill received a promotion to brigadier general. Following the promotion, Hill served gallantly at the Battle of Williamsburg and during the Peninsula Campaign.

As a result of his leadership, Hill was promoted to major general on May 26, 1862. Hill commanded well during the Seven Days Battles, becoming a very important component to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s army. Hill fought well at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, the Second Battle of Bull Run, served a crucial role at the Battle of Antietam, and fought well at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Hill took over for General Jackson after he was mortally wounded, but was later wounded himself. After the battle, Hill received the rank of lieutenant general on May 24, 1863, and became commander of the 3rd corps in General Robert E. Lee’s army. Hill commanded the corps during the Battle of Gettysburg, where he received criticism for some of his command decisions.

During the Battle of Gettysburg, Hill's decisions and actions on the first day of the battle led to engaging the Union army before the entire Confederate army had arrived. After Gettysburg, Hill went on to serve during the Wilderness Campaign, as well at the Siege of Petersburg. On April 2, 1865, while riding along the defensive lines at Petersburg, Hill was shot and killed by a Federal soldier.


A. P. Hill

Ambrose Powell Hill began his military career after graduating 15th out of 38 from the United States Military Academy in 1847. After graduation he served with an artillery unit during the Mexican-American War as well as the Third Seminole War.

On March 1, 1861, Hill resigned from the United States Army. He became the colonel of the 13th Virginia Infantry, commanding a unit at the Battle of First Manassas. On February 26, 1862, Hill received a promotion to brigadier general. Following the promotion, Hill served gallantly at the Battle of Williamsburg and during the Peninsula Campaign. As a result of his leadership, Hill was promoted to major general on May 26, 1862. Hill fought in the Seven Days Battles, becoming a very important component to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s command, and saw action at the Battle of Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas. He played a critical role at the Battle of Antietam, marching his famous Light Division from Harpers Ferry and arriving on the field at a critical moment to repulse a Union assault. After the Battle of Chancellorsville and Jackson's death, Hill was promoted to Lieutenant General and received command of the newly created Third Corps. Hill turned in a less than stellar performance at the Battle of Gettysburg and was critized for some of his decisions on the first two days of the engagmenent. where he received criticism for some of his command decisions. Although battling illness, Hill remained with the Army of Northern Virginia throughout the Overland Campaign of 1864. On April 2, 1865, Hill was killed during the Breakthrough at Petersburg. He is buried in Richmond, Virginia.


Democrat Cowards Wage War on the Dead

In its continuing campaign to purge the city of its history, the Richmond City Council expects to have all Confederate monuments removed by the end of the summer. The only snag is the monument to General Ambrose Powell Hill–because the general’s remains are buried within the monument (https://www.nbc12.com/2021/05/21/final-remnants-confederate-monuments-richmond-could-be-gone-this-summer/).

On his worst day, A.P. Hill was better than a dozen Richmond City Councils on their best. Critics have called them “degenerates” and “social justice terrorists.” I’d say that was putting it mildly. What could be more cowardly, more base, more vile, more contemptible, or more indecent than making war on the defenseless dead? Even the dead aren’t safe from these maggots.

The South’s crime was that they lost the war. Now the cowards of the North are coming for their bones.

They ought to reflect on what would have happened to Washington, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, and all the rest of our country’s founders–whose hard work and hardships created the luxury from which today’s American liberals sling hatred at them–had Britain won our War for Independence. They’d have all been hanged as traitors.


Contents

The Hill family had come to Virginia two centuries before the Civil War. [6] The earliest family members (then spelled "Hull") traced back to 12th century England. Henry and William Hill of Shropshire came to Virginia in 1630. [6] They settled in Middlesex County, Virginia. Both brothers were tobacco farmers and both had large families. [6] In 1740, Russel Hill, William's great-grandson, moved to Culpepper County, Virginia. [6] His son, Henry Hill served in the American Revolutionary War under Colonel Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee. [6] His son, Thomas Hill, was a farmer, merchant, and politician. He married Fannie Russel Baptist. [6] Together they had four sons followed by three daughters. Their fourth son was Ambrose Powell Hill, Jr. [a] [6]

On November 9, 1825, Ambrose Powell Hill, Jr., was born at Greenland, his father's plantation near Culpepper, Virginia. [9] But all throughout his childhood, he was called Powell. [6] He went to the local schools. Hill wanted to go into the military, and in 1842 he was admitted to West Point. [9] But he did not graduate in 1846 with the rest of his class because he missed a year due to illness. [9] Graduating in 1847, he was posted to the U.S. 1st Artillery. [9] After serving in the Mexican-American War, he was sent to Texas, then Florida. [10] Hill came down with Yellow fever, typhoid fever, and malaria. [10] During the 1850s he was sick much of the time and was confined to his bed. When he recovered, he was assigned to the Coast Surveying Department (now the U.S. National Geodetic Survey). [10]

Army of Northern Virginia Edit

When President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in March 1861, Hill was among the U.S. Army officers who resigned their commissions and joined the Confederacy. [11] He was given command of the 13th Virginia Infantry with the rank of colonel. [11] At the First Battle of Bull Run, his regiment was held in reserve. [9] In February 1862 he was promoted to brigadier general. In the Peninsula Campaign, he fought against his former West Point roommate, Union General George McClellan. Proving himself as an aggressive leader, he was promoted again on May 26, 1862. [12] This made him the Confederate Army's youngest major general. [9] Hill called his division "the Light Division" even though it was one of the Confederate Army's larger divisions. [11] This was probably because of how fast Hill could move his troops. [11] He was known as a fearless general and was often seen in battle at the front lines. [11]

Hill-Longstreet feud Edit

Without any encouragement from Hill, he was being regularly written about by a former aide, John M. Daniel. [13] Wounded, Daniel had left the army and was now the editor of the Richmond Examiner, a three-cent newspaper popular with Confederate soldiers. [13] Soon, Daniel was making Hill out to be Lee's top general to the exclusion of other generals. This did not sit well with Lieutenant General James Longstreet, as Hill's commanding officer. [13] The final straw came in the July 2nd edition of The Examiner. Daniel wrote that Hill had taken command of all of Longstreet's forces when Longstreet was absent from the battle for a period of time. Longstreet was angered at this and saw it as a lie. Longstreet decided to write his own article refuting Daniel's claims about Hill at the battle. [13] In a rival newspaper, the Richmond Whig, Longstreet directed Major Moxley Sorrel to submit a public response under Sorrel's own name. [13] This started a very public feud between the two generals. [13] Lee became aware of the feud but decided not to do anything about it. [13]

When Hill refused to read any dispatches sent by Sorrel, Longstreet's aide, Longstreet became furious. [13] He ordered Hills arrest. [13] While under arrest, Hill's Light Division was commanded by generals J.R. Anderson, then Lawrence O'Bryan Branch. At this point Hill regarded this as questioning his honor. The two kept up hostile communications and a time and place was selected for a duel. [13] At this point, Lee stepped in and made the two generals come to an agreement. Hill was restored to his command and was assigned to General Stonewall Jackson. [13] As time passed, Hill and Longstreet became friendly again. [13] Sorrel was later promoted to major general and found himself under the command of Hill. [13]

Army of the Shenandoah Edit

At the Battle of Cedar Mountain in August 1862, Hill proved himself valuable to his new Corps commander. His Light Division played a key role in helping Jackson win a victory over the Union army. [9] At the Second Battle of Bull Run, Hill's division nearly ran out of ammunition but stood their ground against every Federal attack. [9]

At the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Jackson ordered Hill's division to the front in preparation for a night attack. Meanwhile, Jackson was personally doing reconnaissance. As he returned he was fired on by his own men, mortally wounding the general. J.E.B. Stuart took over command and called off the night attack. Chancellorsville was a Confederate victory.

Corps commander Edit

Hill was promoted to lieutenant general after Jackson's death and was now in command of Lee's Third Corps in the Army of the Potomac. [1] Hill's corps was at the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1–3, 1863. [1] He was criticised for making questionable decisions. On the first day, he engaged the Union before all of the Confederate army had arrived. [1]

At the Battle of Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863, Hill's Corps attacked two Union corps who were slowly retreating north. [14] Hill's mistake was in not ordering any reconnaissance before the attack to see what they were up against. [14] One of Hill's divisions was badly beaten, and one artillery battery was lost. [15] After reinforcing his line, Hill was not able to make any progress against the Union corps who were dug in behind the Orange and Alexandria Railroad embankment. [15] After beating Hill, the Union army continued on to Centerville, Virginia. [15] Lee was angry with Hill over his mistakes at Bristoe Station. He told hill, "bury your dead and say no more about it!" [16]

On May 5, 1864, at the place known as the Wilderness in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, Confederate and Union forces battled for two days. Hill's Corps battled two Union corps both days and were on the verge of falling back when Longstreet's Texas Brigade reinforced Hill and pushed the Federals back.

Hill was killed on April 2, 1865 at the Third Battle of Petersburg. He was just returning from sick leave and riding to the front to join his men when he was killed by a shot from an enemy soldier. [17]


Corps commander

The Third Corps’ first action was Gettysburg, but their corps com­mander was terribly sick, ashen-faced, tired, and perhaps distracted by pain. Nevertheless, it was his men who stumbled into the Yankees first and precipitated the greatest battle of the war. As dusk crept up on the first day of battle, Lee asked Hill whether his men could press the attack. The normally belligerent cavalier said no, his men had marched and fought themselves out. It was then that Lee turned to the usually equally belligerent Richard Ewell who came to the same conclusion about the Second Corps. It was not an auspicious beginning for the newly config­ured Army of Northern Virginia, and these were not the answers that Stonewall Jackson would have given.

On the second day, Hill’s men were to act in support of Longstreet. The troops of the Third Corps most deeply involved, those under General Richard Anderson, were badly managed—in part because Hill assumed that Longstreet would coordinate their attack and Longstreet assumed that they would remain under Hill’s direction. Hill again seemed insuffi­ciently aggressive, dispirited in the wake of Longstreet’s sluggishness, and disengaged from his responsibilities.

On the third day, Hill, unlike Longstreet, was an enthusiast for the planned assault on the Union center. He asked permission to lead the attack and Lee should have given it to him and allowed Hill to commit the entire Third Corps to the charge (instead of holding most of it in reserve—a role that would have been better served by Longstreet, who was always better at counterpunching). Had “Little Powell” led the charge at the Union line, with the entirety of the Third Corps, with all the celerity of a commander convinced of the plan’s worth, the Confederates might have won the Battle of Gettysburg.

Instead, a surly, insubordinate Longstreet was charged with making an attack he was convinced would fail, and which he did everything possi­ble to delay and cancel. Longstreet was the wrong man for the job Hill would have been the right one. Moreover, Hill’s relationship with Longstreet was very nearly as cold as his relationship had been with Jack­son and as on the second day, neither commander took responsibility for directing Hill’s men in the attack each general assuming it was the other’s prerogative or responsibility. The result, of course, was a disaster.

On 14 October 1863, Hill thought he had found his redemption, when he caught a large body of Federals napping at Bristoe Station, Virginia, not far from Manassas. But in his haste to attack the Federals before they could escape, he neglected to reconnoiter the ground. His precipitate assault did, indeed, catch the Federals by surprise, but as General Henry Heth’s division was hurried to pursue the fleeing Yankees, it ran into a flank attack by blue-coated troops concealed behind a railroad cutting. Hill had seen the risk—though he had only a vague idea of enemy num­bers behind the railroad tracks—but assumed that his artillery could keep the Federals at bay, and was simply eager to fight. He didn’t realize that concealed behind those tracks were three Union divisions that had a clear killing ground to enfilade the attacking Confederates.

When the entrenched Federals opened fire, cutting a swathe through the grey-clad ranks, the Confederates reformed and redirected their attack at the Yankees behind the railroad tracks. It was a brave but dangerous choice. They managed to break through the first Union line, but were trapped by the second and driven back with heavy losses. James I. Robert­son, one of Hill’s best biographers, estimates that Hill lost a man—killed, wounded, or captured—every two seconds of the battle. Hill’s impetuos­ity had its place, but not here, and probably never as a corps commander, a role that actually never suited Hill. He needed to be in among the fight­ing men, not directing the movements of a corps.

Hill knew he had blundered and confessed as much in his official report. The next day, after the Yankees had continued their retreat, Hill rode over the ground with Lee and repeatedly apologized for his costly error. Lee offered Hill no excuses. But as was often the case, he issued no sharp rebuke either, knowing it was beside the point. Hill knew he had erred, and knew he had disappointed Lee. Finally Lee said, “Well, well.

General, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it. Hill, however, could never let the dead bury their dead at Bristoe Station. For the rest of the war, his failure there, and his increasingly faltering health, depressed his spirits—and his effectiveness.

On the first day of the Battle of the Wilderness (5 May 1864), Hill fought his corps like his old self (even if physically he was ailing), directing his troops with remarkable skill in a very hot fight. But his physical disabili­ties began to tell that night, and not enough was done to prepare the next day. Hill had expected (and so did Lee) that Longstreet would be up with reinforcements. Longstreet, however, was late, and when the Federals hit Hill’s battered lines on the morning of 6 May, the Southerners were unpre­pared for the ferocious attack. Though in tremendous pain, Hill gallantly rode up and down the lines encouraging the troops, organizing the defense, even directing batteries of enfilading artillery fire at the front. When Longstreet’s men finally rolled onto the field. Hill led his men in a counterattack against the Federals (so far in advance was Hill that he was nearly captured by lead units of the Union army).

Two days later, an enfeebled Hill asked Lee to give command of the Third Corps to another general, at least temporarily. Lee reluctantly granted his request, giving the Third Corps to Jubal Early, while Hill remained with the troops aboard an ambulance. He eventually returned to command, and battered as he was, he and Lee endured together, the great slogging match between the counterpunching Army of Northern Vir­ginia and the relentless, hard-pounding Ulysses S. Grant, all the way through most of the siege of Petersburg.

On 19 June 1864, a woman saw Lee and Hill during Sunday services at an Episcopal church. The woman described Hill as “a small man, but [one who] has a very military bearing, and a countenance pleasing but inexpressibly sad.” Hill’s physical state was an apt reflection of the state of the Confederacy, battling on, with a remembrance of past happiness and nobility, now turned inexpressibly sad and worn down. But as Lee proved himself a master of defensive tactics in these final months, so did Hill, whose leadership rebounded even if his health did not.

By the winter of 1864, his strength, vitality, and even his ability to con­centrate were visibly failing. The swashbuckling Hill now found it diffi­cult and painful to mount a horse. But he remained intent on his duties, and rode his lines. He was returning from an early morning conference with Lee on 2 April 1865 when he met his fate. The Confederate line had been broken and Hill was determined to rally his men. Lee admonished him to be careful. Careful was not a word easily applied to Hill.

In his search for the front, the desperately sick Hill rode along a no-man’s land. Along the way, he captured and sent to the rear, under escort, two Federal infantrymen. With his remaining companion, courier George Tucker, he rode on, until he found two more Yankees leveling muskets at him. Hill drew a revolver and called on them to surrender. Instead, the blast of a .58 caliber bullet smashed through Hill’s heart, killing him.

When Lee heard the news, he replied sadly, “He is now at rest, and we who are left are the ones to suffer.” 12 Like Jackson in his delirium. Lee in his final moments also called for “Little Powell”: “Tell A. P. Hill he must come up.” Perhaps no other general, besides Lee, was so much a part of the Army of Northern Virginia.

General James Alexander Walker said of him that “of all the Confederate leaders [Hill] was the most genial and lovable in disposition… the commander the army idolized.”

Hill fought virtually the entire war. He represented the Virginia of man­ners, courtly graces, chivalry, and patriotism. If he is little remembered today, compared with Jackson, Longstreet, and J. E. B. Stuart, he deserves to be recognized for the gallant Southern soldier that he was.


Watch the video: A. P. Hill. Wikipedia audio article


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