Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/209

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Presentation of Statue of A. P. Hill.

203

where all seemed lost, he marched the eighteen miles, crossing the Potomac from Harper's Ferry, which had surrendered to him, and struck Burnside's corpse of fifteen thousand men and rolled it up like a scroll. When the army retired across the Potomac his division formed the rear guard, and when the Federal army attempted to fol- low at Boetner's Ford, he filled the Potomac with their dead.

After Gettysburg, having gained the only success there, in the de- struction of Reynolds' corps, killing the corps commander opposed to him. His third corps formed again the rear guard of the Army of Northern Virginia, which retired across the Potomac a second time in safety behind his veteran troops. At Petersburg the post of danger and ceaseless vigilance was the right. Other troops might rest, Hill's corps was ever on the move, repelling advances on the right. At last the end came, the lines gave way, his blood mingled with your soil, sacred indeed, to all men who are capable of adminis- tering unselfish devotion, and nothing in his career was more becom- ing or unselfish than his death. His courier had ridden ahead of him, ordering as he rode two soldiers of the enemy to surrender. General Hill saw that they intended to fire on him. It was man to man, and no longer lieutenant general and his courier, Tucker, told me a few minutes after that he had no idea that General Hill was by his side.

Just as they fired he heard the rush of the general's horse at his side. He would not see his courier in peril without sharing it with him, and his courier's life was saved at the expense of his own. The Crater. When the column of smoke arose from the Crater Gen- eral Hill leaped from his cot and said : " I am going to Mahone's division; I will take his troops all that can be spared to the point of the explosion." He directed that I should stay at headquarters for any reports from the right. Thirty minutes after General Lee rode up from the other side of the Appomattox unattended by officer or courier. I told him that General Hill had gone to General Mahone's division, with the express purpose of taking all of the troops that could be spared from the lines to the point of the explo- sion. We had a near way from our headquarters to the left of Halifax street, down Lieutenant Run to General Mahone's head- quarters. I conducted General Lee by this near way, and before getting to General Mahone's headquarters we found his troops in motion. General Lee passed through the line and out in the open, and as he was unattended and in some danger from the artillery fire, I continued with him to the rear of the river salient. He took out