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[128]

Malvern Hill.

D. H. Hill was again the first to reach and occupy the position which he was ordered to assume preparatory to a general advance on Malvern Hill. The other parts of the line were not formed till a much later hour in the day. General Lee says in his report of the battle (Series 1, Volume XI, Part 2, page 496 of Official Records): ‘Orders were issued for a general advance at a given signal, but the causes referred to prevented a proper concert of action among the troops. D. H. Hill pressed forward across the open field and engaged the enemy gallantly, breaking and driving back his first line; but a simultaneous advance of the other troops not taking place, he found himself unable to maintain the ground he had gained against the overwhelming numbers and numerous batteries of the enemy. Hill was therefore compelled to abandon a part of the ground he had gained after suffering severe loss and inflicting heavy damage upon the enemy.’

Prompt, vigilant and obedient, he was always at his post at the appointed hour, and with the true conception of soldierly duty moved upon order or signal of his superiors without waiting to count the cost. At Malvern Hill, as at Seven Pines, he charged the enemy under orders from the Commanding General. The persistent pluck of his brave men, developed to the highest degree by his own unequalled coolness and courage, enabled him again to take and hold much of the enemy's outer line till after the last gun was fired.

When Pope had twice been punished by Jackson and driven back upon the supposed stronghold at Manassas, the transfer of troops from the Federal army on the Peninsula made it necessary for General Lee to move with the bulk of his army to the support of his dashing lieutenant, who had already twice defeated an enemy much stronger numerically than himself. D. H. Hill, recalled from the command of his department south of the James, including his own State, and placed at the head of his old division, was ordered to watch and check the movements of McDowell's command, which was still occupying Fredericksburg, and consequently took no part in the second battle of Manassas.


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