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[376]

Gallant, chivalrous, noble A. P. Hill.

The people of the South have done no deed more glorious than in doing honor to their heroic dead and in perpetuating their memories in enduring monuments and life-like statues.

Out of their poverty, they have erected monuments to Lee and Jackson, and Albert Sidney Johnston, and A. P. Hill. May the good work go on, until Davis, and Joe. Johnston, Jeb Stuart and Ewell, and many others have received the honor. Let every city, town and county in the South erect monuments to Confederate valor, and thus teach future generations to respect the men who upheld the conquered banner. But though many may worthily receive this honor, there is no name more worthy of a monument than he whose statue we unveil here to-day. Gallant, chivalrous, noble A. P. Hill; the daring, dashing, successful military chieftain; the courteous, knightly, kind hearted gentleman; the unselfish and sincere friend and the devoted patriot; the officer who rose from the rank of colonel to major-general in the short space of ninety days, and who filled every rank in the Army of Northern Virginia from colonel of a regiment to lieutenant-general in the incredibly brief space of fifteen months; the soldier whose military genius, valor and individuality so impressed itself upon every body of troops he commanded that it became famous for its achievements even in the history of that splendid Army of Northern Virginia.

Wherever the headquarter flag of A. P. Hill floated, whether at the head of a regiment, a brigade, a division, or a corps, in camp or on the battle-field, it floated with a grace and a confidence born of skill, ability and courage, which infused its confidence and courage into the hearts of all who followed it.

It was ever advanced nearest the enemy's lines, ever at the post of danger, always in the thickest of the fight. It floated over more victorious fields, and trailed in the dust of fewer defeats than any flag in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Ambrose Powell Hill was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, in the year 1825, and entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1842. Owing to ill health, he did not graduate until July, 1847, and was immediately ordered to join his regiment in Mexico as second lieutenant of artillery. He reached his post of duty in front of the City of Mexico in time to participate in several of the closing engagements which opened the gates of the city to the [377] American troops and placed General Scott in possession of the halls of the Montezumas. For gallant conduct in these affairs he was breveted first lieutenant of artillery, having won his spurs in his first battle.

After the close of the Mexican war, Lieutenant Hill was stationed for several years in Florida, leading a quiet, uneventful life, interspersing the routine duties of garrison life with reading, hunting, and fishing. In 1857 he was detailed for service in the United States Coast-Survey Office, at Washington city, where he remained until the Spring of 1861. In this position, as in all others, Lieutenant Hill was faithful and attentive to his duties, and a great favorite with all his brother officers, as well as in the refined circle of society in which he moved. In the year 1860 he married a sister of the distinguished Confederate general, John H. Morgan.

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