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Ambrose Powell Hill (November 9, 1825 - April 2, 1865), was a Confederate States of America general in the American Civil War. A. P. Hill, known to his soldiers as Little Powell, was born in Culpeper, Virginia, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1847, being appointed to the 1st U.S. Artillery. He served in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, was promoted to first lieutenant in September 1851, and in 1855 - 1860 was employed on the United States' coast survey.
In March 1861, just before the outbreak of the Civil War, Powell resigned his U.S. Army commission, and when Virginia seceded he was made colonel of a Virginian infantry regiment, winning promotion to the rank of brigadier general on the field of Bull Run.
In the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 he gained further promotion, and as a major general Hill was one of the most prominent and successful divisional commanders of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Hill's Light Division (which was actually one of the largest in the army) distinguished itself in the Seven Days Battles, Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. His division formed part of Stonewall Jackson's corps; after Jackson was severely wounded in the flank attack of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Hill took command of the corps and was wounded himself.
After Jackson's death, Hill was promoted to lieutenant general and placed in command of the Third Corps of Lee's army, which he led in the Gettysburg campaign of 1863, the autumn campaign of the same year, and the Overland Campaign and Petersburg siege of 1864 – 1865. He once said he had no desire to live to see the collapse of the Confederacy, and was killed by a Union soldier as he rode to the front of the Petersburg lines on April 2, 1865.
Hill did not escape controversy during the war. He suffered from frequent illnesses that reduced his effectiveness at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. (Some historians believe he suffered from complications of veneral disease contracted as a West Point cadet.) At Gettysburg, his actions precipitating the battle on July 1, 1863, before Lee's full army was concentrated have been widely criticized.
Nevertheless, Hill was one of the war's most highly regarded generals on either side. He had a reputation for arriving on battlefields (such as Antietam, Cedar Mountain, and Second Bull Run) just in time to prove decisive and achieve victory. On their death beds, both Lee and Jackson deliriously called for A. P. Hill to “bring up his troops.”
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.
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