At South Mountain (September 14, 1864) an important order addressed to Hill fell into federal hands, but he was probably not at fault. His division lost more than sixty percent of its strength at Sharpsburg (September 17, 1862), and Hill had three horses shot from under him.
Soldier. Born in York District on July 12, 1821, Hill was the son of Solomon Hill and Nancy Cabeen. His father died when he was four, and he was raised in an atmosphere of farm work and Presbyterian piety. He attended West Point, ranking twenty-eighth of fifty-six cadets graduating in 1842. During the Mexican War he served in a series of important battles and received a gold sword from the South Carolina legislature for his bravery. During this period Hill wrote a series of unsigned magazine articles criticizing the War Department. On November 2, 1848, Hill married Isabella Morrison of Lincoln County, North Carolina. The couple had nine children.
Shortly after his marriage, Hill resigned from the army to teach mathematics at Washington College in Virginia and then at Davidson College in North Carolina. In 1859 he took command of the new North Carolina Military Institute near Charlotte. When the Civil War began he was appointed colonel of the First Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers. On June 10, 1861, Hill led his men skillfully to victory at Big Bethel Church in the first land battle of the war. He was serving under Colonel John B. Magruder, for whom he had little regard, but who allowed Hill to control the fighting. Promoted to brigadier general, Hill was sent to command at Leesburg, where he criticized his cavalry commander, J. E. B. Stuart, creating a mutual dislike between them.
In 1862 Hill was promoted to major general and placed under General James Longstreet during the Peninsular Campaign, where Hill participated in the various battles of the Seven Days’ campaign and showed great personal bravery under fire. At South Mountain (September 14, 1864) an important order addressed to him fell into federal hands, but he was probably not at fault. His division lost more than sixty percent of its strength at Sharpsburg (September 17, 1862), and Hill had three horses shot from under him. The severe winter and his frail nature caused his reassignment to administrative duties in North Carolina and Virginia, where he had ample time to write more complaining letters to various high officials.
In mid-1863 Hill was breveted to lieutenant general and sent to command a corps in Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. At Chickamauga (September 19–20, 1863) he again proved his skill and bravery, but after the partial victory he and many of his compatriots suggested Bragg’s removal from command. Jefferson Davis personally intervened in support of Bragg, who then relieved Hill from duty. Davis allowed Hill’s rank to lapse back to major general and thereafter refused to clear Hill’s reputation. Hill later become a “volunteer aide” to General P. G. T. Beauregard at Petersburg, where he effectively led troops in several engagements. After the war Hill edited a magazine and a newspaper in Charlotte. He then served as president of Arkansas Industrial University (later the University of Arkansas) and president of Georgia Military and Agricultural College. Hill died of cancer in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 24, 1889, and was buried in the Davidson College Cemetery.
Bridges, Leonard Hal. Lee’s Maverick General. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961.
Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command. 3 vols. New York: Scribner’s, 1942–1944.
Robertson, James I. “‘Old Rawhide’: A Military Biography of Daniel Harvey Hill, C.S.A.” Master’s thesis, Emory University, 1956.