The numerous biographers of Lee
are, perhaps, responsible for the remarkable fact that no history of A. P. Hill
has yet been given to the public.
Any adequate life of the Confederate
commander, or of his foremost lieutenant, so necessarily involves constant presentation of the deeds wrought by one less lofty in character, steadfast in purpose, and terrible in battle than either, that we may not be surprised if the general public has thus far been satisfied with the frequent recurrence of his name and deeds in the pages of Dabney
, and others.
But it is not just to one who, in any other association, would have been facile princess
; of whom it may truthfully be said that he was a determining factor in every important battle of the campaigns in the East
, that his achievements should serve the one purpose of magnifying others, or that he should be seen only in the reflected light of stars of larger magnitude.
Measured by the standards which men apply to the claimants of mastership in war, Hill
was not a great commander.
Such have not come in troops, nor in triplets, upon any age or stage of the world; and the late American conflict, while prolific of good soldiers, and developing among a people inured to peace a wonderful aptitude for fighting, formed in this respect no exception to the experience of centuries.
If that stern clash of antagonistic prejudices and contending interests produced, on either side, a genius family comparable to that of Frederick or of Marlborough
, there was but one--and he fell before either friend, or foe, or fate, had found the limit of his