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At Sharpsburg, the last, as in every previous engagement, in which D. H. Hill participated with that army, no figure was more conspicuous and no line firmer than his. As usual he was the first to open and the last to quit the fight. General Lee said in his report (Series 1, Vol. XIX, part 1, pages 249, 250): ‘The attack on our left was speedily followed by one in heavy force on the centre. This was met by part of Walker's division and the brigades of G. B. Anderson and Rodes, of D. H. Hill's command, assisted by a few pieces of artillery. The enemy were repulsed and retired behind the crest of a hill from which they kept up a desultory fire. At this time, by a mistake of orders, General Rodes' brigade was withdrawn from its position during the temporary absence of that officer at another part of the field. The enemy immediately passed through the gap thus created, and G. B. Anderson's brigade was broken and retired, General Anderson himself being mortally wounded. * * * The heavy masses of the enemy again moved forward, being opposed by only four pieces of artillery, supported by a few hundred men belonging to different brigades, rallied by General D. H. Hill and other officers, and parts of Walker's and R. H. Anderson's commands, Colonel Cooke, of the Twenty-seventh North Carolina regiment, of Walker's brigade, standing boldly in line without a cartridge.’ At this critical moment, when the enemy was advancing on Cooke, says General Longstreet, ‘A shot came across the Federal front plowing the ground in a parallel line, then another and another, each nearer and nearer their line. This enfilade fire was from a battery on D. H. Hill's line, and it soon beat back the attacking column.’ (2 Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, page 670.)

On the right General Lee was stationed in person, and with Toombs' brigade (says General Longstreet) held the enemy in check till A. P. Hill's division rushed to the rescue with Pender on the right and Branch on the left of his line, and aided by well-directed shots from a battery planted by D. H. Hill on his front, drove them back in confusion. (2 Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, page 670.) Generals Lee, Longstreet, and D. H. Hill concluded during a short suspension of musketry fire to reconnoiter the position of the enemy from the crest of a ridge in front of the Confederate line, which was formed behind a fence. Lee and Longstreet, giving General [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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