On the life and character of Lieut.-General D. H. Hill,Before the Ladies' Memorial Association, at Raleigh, N. C., May 10, 1893, by Hon. A. C. Avery, Associate justice of the supreme Court of North Carolina.
Ladies of the Memorial Association, Comrades, GentlemenMeasured by the average length of human life, almost a generation has passed away since the tocsin of war was sounded thirty years ago and aroused in conservative old North Carolina such a furor of excitement as no pen can portray and no tongue describe. As years have rolled by the reaper has gathered and the angels have garnered the ripened sheaves. One by one the spirits of our old heroes have passed over the river to again rally around their sainted leaders, Lee, Jackson and Hill, and join them in endless paeans to the Prince of Peace for achieving the most sublime of all great victories. Twenty years ago the space allotted to the soldiers at these annual gatherings was filled for the most part by comrades rejoicing in the exuberant vigor of young manhood. The eye of your orator searches in vain to-day among the silvered heads, that fill the space allotted to the old soldiers, for the manly forms of those friends of his boyhood and comrades of his young manhood, Basil Manly, Richard Badger, Phil. Sasser and James McKimmon, true and tried soldiers, who were as conspicuous for their courage in the hour of danger as for their loyalty to the sacred memories of the past when our banner had been forever furled.  These object lessons constrain those of us who are now distinctively known as old veterans, to remember that the mention of the stirring days of sixty-one reminds the majority of this audience of no such vivid scenes as pass in review before the imaginations of the old soldier and the wives, sisters and daughters, whose hands in all these years have trimmed the turf, and whose tears have moistened the immortelles that cover the resting places of our loved and honored dead. Seven States South of us had solemnly asserted their right under the Constitution to sever their connection with the Federal Union, and had, through their representatives in convention, established the provisional government of the new Confederacy, with Montgomery, Alabama, as its capital city. But North Carolina, with characteristic conservatism, still clung to the federative union of States, which was conceived in the patriotic resolves of Mecklenburg, and ultimately established by the timely strategy and heroic valor of her volunteer troops at Kings Mountain and Guilford Courthouse. In 1789 she had awaited further assurance and guarranty that her rights as a sovereign State would be respected and protected before she would agree to enter into the more perfect union then formed. In 1861, she adhered to that union, and stood under the aegis of the old flag till those in whose custody the political revolution of the previous year had placed it, had already broken the compact, and attempted the subjugation of her sister States. The defiant answer of Governor Ellis to Lincoln's demand for North Carolina's quota of Federal soldiers, and his prompt call for volunteers to support our kindred and man our forts, went to the people on the wings of the wind. Telegrams, trains, single engines, pony express and runners were so effectually employed as to reach every precinct and every hamlet in three or four days. South Carolina had been invaded, and every voice demanded that the invader should be resisted to the death. The response of the clan to the bearer of Vich Alpine's bloody croslet was not more ready, nor supported by a more determined courage than was that of the brave sons of our grand old State to the call of her chosen chief. In a little while drums were beating, bands were playing, girls were singing, boys were shouting, flags were flying, orators were appealing, and stalwart men were weeping. But behind all this the firm resolve of the volunteer to do or die found an echo even in the heart of the  wife and mother. The widow, without a murmur, committed her only boy to the keeping of the orphan's God, as she proudly imprinted a parting kiss upon his brow, while the woe of the bride was tempered with that admiration which is the tribute of beauty to bravery, as she gave a last embrace to one to whom she had but yesterday plighted her faith. The stately Southern dames and the petted damsels, whose soft hands had seldom plied needle before, found their greatest pleasure then in deftly working upon caps, haversacks and knapsacks, as at a later day in cutting and stitching the coarse clothing intended for our brave boys. The organized bodies of citizen soldiery from all parts of the State, such as the Rowland Rifles, the Wilmington Light Infantry and the Oak City Guards were sent hastily to the unoccupied forts on our coast. As the other companies thus hurriedly equipped, rushed to the capitol to tender their services, all eyes were turned to an adopted son of the State, whose education at West Point and brilliant career in Mexico, had placed him easily at the head of her citizen soldiery—and Daniel Harvey Hill was called to the command of her first camp of instruction.