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Daniel Harvey Hill
Daniel Harvey Hill.jpg
Born (1821-07-12)July 12, 1821
York District, South Carolina
Died September 24, 1889(1889-09-24) (aged 68)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Place of Burial
Davidson College Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States of America
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
 Confederate States of America Army
Years of service 1842–49 (USA)
1861–65 (CSA)
Rank Union army maj rank insignia.jpg Major (USA)
Confederate States of America General-collar.svg Lieutenant General (CSA)
Commands held Division command, Army of Northern Virginia; corps command, Army of Tennessee
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
  • Battle of Contreras
  • Battle of Churubusco
  • Battle of Chapultepec

American Civil War

Other work
  • Editor of The Land We Love
  • President of the University of Arkansas
  • President of the Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College of Milledgeville

Daniel Harvey Hill, or more commonly D. H. Hill, (July 12, 1821 - September 24, 1889) was a Confederate Major general during the American Civil War. He was an officer in the Mexican-American War and received two brevet promotions for his performance; one to captain and another to major. He left the army to become a Professor. When North Carolina seceded from the Union, Hill was appointed Colonel of the 1st North Carolina Infantry. By 1862 he was a major general serving in the Army of Northern Virginia. Hill's reputation was tarnished over the lost copy of Special Order 191 which fell into the hands of Union general George McClellan. This gave away Robert E. Lees plans for the Confederate Maryland Campaign. He was considered a military genius by some, including Lieutenant general Stonewall Jackson (his Brother-in-law).

Early life

Hill was born on July 12, 1821 at Hill's Iron Works in York County, South Carolina. He was the son of Solomon and Nancy Hill. His grandfather, William Hill, a native of Ireland, built an iron foundry that made cannon for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was also a Revolutionary War soldier. Hill was educated locally and in 1838 accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was in the same class as James Longstreet, William Rosecrans, John Pope, and George Sykes. He graduated four years later ranked 28th in a class of 56. He was given a commission in the 1st US Artillery.

Mexican War

He participated in nearly every important battle in the Mexican–American War. He rose to the rank of First lieutenant. He won the brevet rank of Captain at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco. For his actions at the Battle of Chapultepec he was breveted the rank of major. The state of South Carolina gave him a gold sword in appreciation for his services.


He resigned from the army in 1849 and became Professor of Mathematics at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). In 1854 Hill became a professor at Davidson College. In 1859 he resigned his chair position to become the superintendent of the North Carolina Military Institute.

Civil war

As a colonel of the 1st North Carolina Infantry he quickly became successful. In 1861 he led his forces to a victory in the Battle of Big Bethel (Virginia). By the spring of the following year, Hill had been promoted to major general in the Army of Northern Virginia. He led his division at the battles of Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Pines and all through the Seven Days Battles. It was Hill who advised his commander, Robert E. Lee, not to attack the Union positions at the Battle of Malvern Hill saying "If General McClellan is there in strength, we had better let him alone." Lee ignored the advice and the attacks were unsuccessful. Hill was left to defend Richmond, Virginia during the Northern Virginia Campaign. While in Richmond, Hill and Union general John Adams Dix worked out a system to exchange prisoners of war. He rejoined Lee for the Maryland Campaign.

It was during the Maryland Campaign that Hill was mistakenly sent two copies of Special Order 191. The second copy, which came to be known as the "lost copy" was found on September 13 by a Union soldier who quickly sent it up the chain of command to McClellan. Now McClellan knew the details of how Lee had weakened his forces by splitting them up into several columns. It also laid out where each part of his army was to be at any given time. McClellan acted, quicker than usual, and attacked Lee's positions. Hill's outnumbered men delayed the Union advance at the Battle of South Mountain long enough for Lee to regroup. Three days later Hill's division defended the "Bloody Lane" against several Union attacks at the Battle of Antietam before being driven back. Hill's division was also in the Battle of Fredericksburg. In 1863 Hill was sent to help defend Southern Virginia and North Caroline. He never returned to Lee's army. He was next sent west to command a Corps under Lieutenant general Braxton Bragg. At the Battle of Chickamauga Hill led his corps. But he did not get along at all with Bragg and was left without a command. This also stopped his promotion to Lieutenant general. He did not command troops again until the

In the spring of 1863, Hill was detached to help defend North Carolina and Southern Virginia. He never rejoined Lee’s army. After helping defend Richmond during Lee’s Gettysburg Campaign, Hill was sent west to command a corps in Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. Hill led his corps in the victory at the Battle of Chickamauga. After the battle, however, tensions with Bragg led to Hill being sidelined and to the cancellation of his promotion to lieutenant general. Hill did not command troops again until the final weeks of the war at the Battle of Bentonville.


Hill was a very good combat leader but he made enemies among other Confederate generals. He was said to be sarcastic, abrupt and often insulting. James Longstreet once said Hill's problem was he was a North Carolinian in an army of Virginians.

After the war

Hill edited a magazine at Charlotte called "The Land We Love." Between 1877 and 1880 he was president of the Arkansas Industrial university (later renamed the University of Arkansas). Following that he was president of the Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College (now Georgia Military College). He remained there until August of 1889 when ill health caused him to resign. He died at Charlotte September 23, 1899. Hill was buried at the Davidson College Cemetery.

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