Lieutenant General A. P.
Army of Northern Virginia Third Corps Commander
Ambrose Powell Hill was born outside of Culpeper, Virginia on November 9, 1825. He was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1842. During a summer furlough, he contracted an embarrassing illness that caused him to be sent home during his junior year. He returned the next year, and he graduated with the Class of 1847. His academic rank was 15th of 38 in the class. He saw little action in the Mexican War because the fighting was about over by the time he arrived.
A. P. Hill rapidly rose in rank in the Confederate Army. His initial command was as Colonel of the 13th Virginia Infantry. During the Seven Days, he established an excellent reputation as a combat commander. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, the Battle of Second Manassas, and the Battle of Antietam. He commanded a division in Jackson's Corps known as the "Light Division." After the death of "Stonewall Jackson" at Chancellorsville, A. P. Hill was placed in command of the new Third Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. He was also promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. General Hill did not perform as brilliantly as a corps commander as he had as a division commander. Recurring illness from the disease contracted during his college days sometimes hampered his performance during battles in the East. He even had an ambulance permanently assigned to him for transportation because sometimes he could not ride a horse. At Gettysburg his men were turned over to other commanders. He did not command at the Battle of Spotsylvania because of illness. His corps held many of the main lines at Petersburg. On April 2, 1865, a break through occurred, and he rode out to try to stop the collapse of his line. He met a small group of Union soldiers, and he was killed.
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