Ambrose Powell Hill

From the Peninsula to Maryland: Hill's role in the summer of 1862

Photograph of A. P. Hill
A. P. Hill
Library of Congress

Quick Facts

Significance:
Lt Gen. of Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia Commanding Light Division, Second Corps
Place of Birth:
Culpeper, VA
Date of Birth
November 9, 1825
Place of Death:
Petersburg, VA
Date of Death
April 02, 1865
Place of Burial:
Richmond, VA
Cemetery Name
Hollywood Cemetery

In the aftermath of the Peninsula Campaign, A.P. Hill became embroiled in dispute with James Longstreet over a series of newspaper articles that appeared in the Richmond Examiner. Their disagreement caused relations between the two men to deteriorate to the point where Hill was placed under arrest and challenged Longstreet to a duel. In order to settle their dispute Lee decided to send Hill and his division to reinforce Jackson in Gordonsville, Virginia.

This positioned Hill in the midst of the fighting at the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9. His counterattack helped to stabilize the Confederate left flank, preventing a route, and contributing to Confederate victory.

Three weeks later at the Second Battle of Manassas, Hill held a firm line on the Confederate left along the unfinished railroad cut against repeated Union attacks.

During this campaign, Hill became involved in several minor disputes with his new commander as well. His clashes with Jackson established ill feeling that persisted until Jackson's death the following year. During the Maryland Campaign, Jackson had Hill arrested and after the campaign charged him with eight counts of dereliction of duty.

Despite these issues, Hill's leadership during the Maryland Campaign was particularly exemplary. He helped to capture the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, when on the night of September 14, he led a flanking maneuver on the Chambers Farm. Hundreds of his men worked through the night to drag artillery up the ravines and place them on the farm. After the surrender, the other Confederate forces moved north toward Sharpsburg while he was left with his division to process Union prisoners. Upon receiving an urgent message from Lee, Hill left one brigade to finish the work in Harpers Ferry and led his "Light Division" on a grueling 17 mile march to Sharpsburg. Hill arrived at the battlefield just in time to counter the final advance of Burnside's Corps, bringing an end to the battle and staving off defeat.