Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/35
// '/ it A. P. I I'H M't His Fate. 27
His untiring efforts have been attended with material results in the provision for the maimed and needy veterans and for kindred sacred objects. Acknowledgment is due, also, to a distinguished officer of General Hill's staff for revision of the account of the circumstances attending his death.
It has been deemed that it would be acceptable to prefix to the paper a portrait of General Hill and a synopsis of his career. These are from the "Souvenir" of the unveiling of the monument to his memory, issued by the J. L. Hill Printing Company, of Richmond, Va., who have kindly loaned the plate of the strikingly faithful por- trait, for its reproduction. EDITOR.]
MR. JAMES P. MATTHEW'S HISTORICAL NARRATIVE.
It is seldom that all the details of a battlefield incident are so well-known as in the case of the shooting of General Hill. Of the four men who accidentally met on the edge of a wooded swamp, skirting the Boydton plank road, on the morning of April 2, 1865, three were still living at the time of the dedication of the Hill monu- ment, and two of them (one on each side), had written narratives of the occurrence which fit together wonderfully well, although neither of the writers was conscious of the other's existence. It is a some- what remarkable circumstance that the survivors were all citizens of Pennsylvania in 1892. The Southern soldier who lived to tell the tragic story of the death of his chief and his own fortunate escape, and the two Union soldiers, who refused to surrender to him, would have been citizens of the same county, if boundary lines had remained as they were at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
To properly understand the circumstances that brought General Hill and Sergeant Tucker, his chief of couriers, into accidental colli- sion with two Pennsylvania soldiers, it will be necessary to take a glance at the military situation as it existed on that eventful morning. The two armies, which had been fortifying against each other for nearly ten months, and had fought a dozen terrific battles for the possession of vantage points on the various parts of the embattled line, had entered upon the final struggle. A portion of General Lee's forces held the cordon of strong forts which had been thrown around Petersburg, forming as it were a gigantic horse-shoe, with the corkers resting on the Appomatox river and covering the roads to Richmond.