AP Hill had his most brilliant engagement during the Battle of Gettysburg. General Hill would be seen as a man of courage and great valor during the battle and would lay claim as one of Lee’s favorites.
General Lee would often send in Hill when he required a swift thinker with no fear. This characteristic would follow General Hill throughout his fighting and leading days of the Civil War.
General Ambrose Powell Hill was born in Culpeper, Virginia in 1825. a graduate of West Point, Hill would rise to the occasion and be recalled by his teachers and classmates as an excellent student.
There were no disciplinary problems with Hill during his school days or before. Hill graduated in 1847. This enlistment would be short-lived as the first signs of war were on the horizon at Ft. Sumter.
General Hill resigned from the US Army and entered the Confederate army in 1861. His rank was Colonel and he had set his sights on a larger prize since he was a boy, the prize was rank of general. The boyhood dream was most certainly not to fight against his own countrymen, but never the less, the good general had his dream come true.
The 13th Infantry of the Confederate army would be a home away from home for Hill during The Civil War. He felt comfortable in the role of a southern leader and realized what his military strengths as well as his weaknesses were from an early start. This type of intuition would make him be seen as the crafty intelligent general that he was.
When the Battle of Williamsburg started, Hill was a commander who led his troops into the confrontation. After a few minor wins in Virginia and Georgia, in 1863 General Hill found himself at Chancellorsville fighting along side the great General Stonewall Jackson. The tide of Hill’s life, which was going relatively well, would be upgraded by the course of one bullet.
During the Battle of Chancellorsville, Jackson and a few of his men were returning to their lines on horseback after scouting Union lines Confederate troops mistook Jackson’s group for Union cavalry. The Confederates shouted a challenge word but there was no response from Jackson or his men.
The Confederates opened fire on the group wounding Jackson in the arm. This wound would later lead to his death in the coming days. This devastating loss would send vibrations throughout both the north and south.
The loss of Jackson left a vacancy which would be filled by General Hill. He had finally reached the top of his military career and the dream he had so long ago, was brought to fruition.
In 1865 during the battle of Petersburg while General Hill was attempting to reunite with his forces, a bullet found his heart, shot from the gun of a Federal. The dream was over for the good general. Hills’ fearless nature was never more evident than in his last battle. Usually the commander of the force would have at least 10-15 men surrounding him in every battle situation, not general Hill. He always had one man that would accompany him and not guard him. Even in death the name Hill means fearless leader.