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[283] riposte in the shape of a sharp thrust on our right at “Battery 45.” Our pickets-only details were on duty — were driven in, and forced back almost under the works. The next day General Lee made a personal inspection of this portion of the lines, in company with Lieutenant General Hill and his division commanders. The picket line, as it remained, was undoubtedly faulty in the last degree, and General Lee, vexed with the burden of so many and such heavy responsibilities, seemed by no means disposed to tax his mind further with the assumption of details of this description. Turning sharply to General Hill, he exclaimed: “Here are your troops and yonder is the enemy. If you can't establish your picket line, I can't do it for you.” And with these words he rode away. General Hill that night ordered the sharpshooters of Wilcox to carry the crest in their front, and the next day found us strongly intrenched on a line commanding all the country before it. In moving to our right to meet the continued advances of the enemy in that direction, each day saw our works stripped of men, and each day found us fighting. The sharpshooters were in greater demand than ever before. It was a common thing for a general officer to request their assistance in the establishment of his picket lines. One instance of the kind is worthy of record. Three days before the enemy broke through the lines around Petersburg, they pushed up their skirmish line almost to our works, in front of General Cook, near Hatcher's run, with the view of masking their larger movements. Friday evening, a battalion of sharpshooters of Wilcox's Division received orders to report to General Cook for duty. On reaching the quarters of that officer, they were informed that the command was told off for “nervous duty” in front of his line. We were placed in position with them by Captain Stephen W. Jones, a famous officer of sharpshooters in command of Cook's Corps. That night the battalion moved on the enemy, and with but slight loss captured their rifle-pits and reestablished the picket line. The next day occurred the great break up and the death of A. P. Hill.

It was under most singular circumstances that Lieutenant General A. P. Hill, an officer whose name will ever be inseparably connected with the glory of the Army of Northern Virginia, met his death. When the Federal commander for the last time applied his favorite tactics, and extended his left flank to envelop our right, General Hill's Corps was massed at and beyond Hatcher's run, though a portion of his command held the works from “Battery 45” to the extreme right. His headquarters were still established near Petersburg. On Saturday evening he left the front at Hatcher's run, there being no indication at that point of a forward

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A. P. Hill (6)
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