Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/385
Unveiling of Statue of General A. P. Hill.
M CLELLAN S MOVEMENT CHECKED.
In the spring of 1861 General Joseph E. Johnston, learning that General McClellan was organizing a force on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, about New creek, and threatening his flank, sent A. P. Hill with his own (the Tenth Virginia) and Third Tennessee regiments to Romney in Hampshire county, to observe and check the move- ment. The task was accomplished by Colonel Hill in a manner to call forth honorable mention, and on his return to the army it was confidently expected by his friends that he would be promoted and assigned to the command of the regiments then under him, but the government at Richmond held that Virginia had already more than her share of brigadiers, and that no more appointments would be made from that State for the time being. That Colonel Hill was disappointed at this there can be no doubt, but he submitted without a murmur, and with his three regiments reported to General Arnold Elzey, of Maryland, who had just been promoted, and whose old regiment, the First Maryland united to Hill's three, was known as the Fourth brigade.
At the battle of First Manassas, Colonel Hill's regiment was not engaged, having been sent to the right flank to strengthen a position supposed to be in need of reinforcements. The loss of this oppor- tunity was another source of disappointment, but during the remain- der of the year 1861, which was spent in masterly inactivity Colonel Hill was untiring in his efforts to drill, discipline and organ- ize the raw recruits of which General Johnston's army was composed, and by his experience, his military education, and his skill as an organizer, he contributed much to lay the foundation for the future success and efficiency of that army.
In March, 1862, Colonel Hill received his long-deferred promotion, and was assigned to the command of Longstreet's old brigade, com- posed of the First, Seventh,. Eleventh and Seventeenth Virginia regiments then at Orange Courthouse, on the march to the Penin- sula. During the manoeuvres around Yorktown, and on the retreat to the Chickahominy, General Hill was distinguished for his energy and activity, and for the skill with which he handled his brigade.
At the battle of Williamsburg, fought on the 5th of May, 1862. against his old schoolmate and friend, General McClellan, his cool- ness, courage and skill won the admiration of the army and the