Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/157

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


//; and Character of Lt. -General D. 11. ///'//. 149

When the remnant of the grand army of Tennessee reached Au- gusta in charge of General Stevenson, Johnston ordered Hill to as- sume command and move in front of the vast and victorious hosts of Sherman. The greeting given him by the little bands of the old legions of Cleburne and Breckinridge now left, was a fitting tribute to an old commander whom they loved and admired. Hoping against hope, Hill was the leader above all others to infuse new spirit into the forlorn band devoted to this desperate duty. At every stream and on every eminence in his native State he disputed the ground with Sherman's vanguard till he developed a force that made it mad- ness to contend further. Hill's reputation as a soldier depends in nowise upon successful running. This final retreat was the first and last in which he took a leading part. When once more his foot was planted upon the soil of North Carolina, it was eminently fitting that he who heard the first victorious shouts of her first regiment in the first fight in Virginia, should lead her brave sons in the last charge of the grand army of the great west within her own borders. Again, as in the last onset of Cox at Appomattox, North Carolina soldiers stood the highest test of the hero by facing danger in a gallant charge when they knew that all hope of success was gone forever.

LAST YEARS TRUE CHARACTER.

The last years of General Hill's life were devoted to journalism and to teaching. As the editor of The Land We Love, and subsequently of The Southern Home, he wielded a trenchant pen, and was a potent factor in putting down the post-bellum statesmen who proposed to relegate to the shades of private life the heroes and leaders of the Lost Cause. As a teacher, he soon placed himself in touch with his pupils and won their love and confidence, as he did that of the sol- diers led by him to battle.

His opinions, whether upon political, religious or scientific sub- jects, were always the result of thought and study, and were expressed in terse and clear language. As a Christian he constantly recurred to the cardinal doctrines of Christ's divinity and His com- plete atonement. He wrote two religious works, which evince at once his grace and force as a writer, and his unbounded trust in these fundamental truths. The subject of the one was " The Sermon on the Mount;" of the other, "The Crucifixion."