How Hill was killed.
On the morning of the 2d of April the heavy columns of the enemy attacked the centre of Hill
's corps, and after a short but sharp engagement broke through his lines and severed the two wings of the command.
After this disaster General Hill
attempted to force his way through the enemy's pickets in order to put himself in communication with that portion of his command from which he had been cut off.
The attempt was desperate, and those around him sought to dissuade him from making it, but A. P. Hill
was never known to shrink from any personal danger when duty called, and, accompanied by a single courier, he galloped along the road which ran in rear and parallel to his lines, encountering and firing his pistol at several of the enemy's stragglers until he came suddenly upon a group of sharpshooters.
He advanced and summoned them to surrender, but was answered by a volley which killed him almost instantly, and wounded the courier.
As he fell from his horse the only words he spoke were to say to his faithful follower, ‘Take care of yourself.’
Thus ended the life of the noblest type of manhood that nature ever produced.
Thus closed the career of one of the most brilliant and accomplished soldiers of modern times.
Thus fell the ardent patriot whom his people loved.
Thus ‘died on the field of honor’ the commander whom the army idolized.
His leading characteristics as a commander were celerity of movement and the ability to march his troops in good order on the shortest notice and in the shortest time.
In this respect he resembled and rivalled Stonewall Jackson
Endurance, energy, courage and magnetism were his in a high degree.
His soldiers believed in him with an abiding faith, and in the darkest hour his presence was hailed as the harbinger of light and victory.
Added to these qualities was his superiority as
tactician, which enabled him to take in the situation of a battle-field at a glance to do the right thing at the right moment, and seize upon and profit by every blunder of his adversary.
With all his fiery zeal, he was ever mindful of the safety of his men, and never exposed them to useless punishment for his own glory.
He understood thoroughly the character of the volunteer troops under his command, and accorded them the respect due to citizen-soldiery, but demanded of them the strictest performance of every military duty and tolerated no flagrant breach of discipline.
He looked closely after their rights, their safety and their comfort, often visiting the hospitals to see after his sick and wounded, and gave his personal attention to the workings of every department of the service.
He was inexorable in requiring of his staff the strictest attention to their duties.
He loved a good soldier, and was his friend, but to the skulker and the coward he was a terror, and the higher the rank of the offender, the more certain and severe the punishment.
With his own hands he would tear from the uniform of officers the badges of their rank when found skulking on the battle-field.