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[139] Hill a sufficiently wide berth, went out on foot, while Hill rode. In a few moments, says Longstreet, he was making vain and rather ludicrous efforts to dismount from the third horse killed under him in that engagement, the legs of the animal having been cut off at the knees by a cannon ball. When Major Ratchford, who himself was never known to quail in the face of the foe, but whose affection for his friend was unbounded, said to him on this occasion: ‘General, why do you expose yourself so recklessly? Do you never feel the sensation of fear?’ General Hill replied that he would never require his men to go where he did not know the ground or would not go himself, and that he had no fear of death, if he met it in the line of duty. His friend then inquired if he would not rather live than die. ‘Oh, yes,’ said General Hill, ‘when I think of my wife and babies I would; but God will take care of them if he allows anything to happen to me.’

When, in November, 1862, Hill's division was ordered to take the lead in the march to Fredericksburg to meet Hooper, a large number of his men had been barefooted since the return of the army from Maryland, yet he accomplished the unusual feat of marching two hundred miles in twenty days without leaving on the way a single straggler. One of the remarkable features of the battle of December 13, 1862, near Fredericksburg, which followed this sudden transfer of the seat of war, was the fact that D. H. Hill's division, Jubal A. Early's and most of John B. Hood's, were in the reserve line. It was evidence of an easy victory, that the services of three such fighting men were not needed in front.


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