This the writer knows, as having obtained permission from General Hill
himself to return to Petersburg
, and having ridden up the lines in company with him and his staff.
Next morning before dawn the enemy carried several points of his line by reason of its extension, and the attenuation of its defense.
Moving across the country, the victorious Federals re-established their pickets in the direction of the river.
, apprised of this state of things at his headquarters, at once dispatched such of his staff as were with him to report the facts to General Lee
, and to see what could be done toward repairing the disaster.
Accompanied by a few couriers, he rode immediately afterward toward Hatcher
's run, with the view of rejoining the main body of his command.
He was repeatedly urged not to attempt the undertaking; but his sole and laconic reply was, “I must get to my corps.”
As the General
and his party proceeded upon their way they found the country filled with detached bodies of Federal infantry, straggling and plundering.
The first lot of these stragglers which was come across, uncertain of their strength, and perhaps awed by the appearance of a general officer — a sentiment natural to disciplined soldiery-quietly surrendered, and were sent to Petersburg
in charge of three couriers.
Accompanied only by Sergeant Tucker
, General Hill
continued on his way till, on reaching a point some four miles from Petersburg
, on the plank road, they saw before them two Federal infantrymen.
These men, seeing the mounted Confederates, took cover behind a tree.
, without hesitation, called to Tucker
to ride them down; and, pushing forward in advance, received their fire with fatal effect.
Thus perished, in the prime of life, a gallant officer, who had engaged in more pitched battles than he numbered years; who organized and fought with eminent success and daring the famous Light Division
, and who handled the Third Corps of the army with the same vigilance, efficiency, and fidelity which distinguished him in lower commands, and which so singularly recalled his image to the dying eyes both of Lee
In tone, in character, and in military force, he was strikingly like Bessieres; and his death may also be compared with that of the commander of the Old Guard, who lost his life in an insignificant skirmish on the eve of the great battle of Lutzen
His death was peculiarly unfortunate at this time; but even his magnetic presence-and no man's was more so-could hardly have redeemed the fortunes of the day. In fact, the army was so broken as almost to have lost its military attitude.
With the beginning of the retreat began also the most arduous labors of the sharpshooters.
To this body was assigned the duty of