Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/196

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


186 Southern Historical Society Papers.

office trying to get a little sleep. A few minutes after General Hill's arrival I walked out to the front gate of the TurnbuU House, and there saw wagons and teamsters dashing rather wildly down the River Road (Cox's) in the direction of Petersburg. Walking out on the road, I met a wounded officer on crutches coming from the direction of the huts of Harris's brigade, which lay across the branch in front of the headquarters, who informed me he had been driven from his quarters in these huts (which a few sick and wounded men occu- pied i by the enemy's skirmishers. I immediately returned to the house, ordered my horse, and reported what I had seen and heard to General Lee, with whom General Hill was still sitting. General Lee ordered me to go and reconnoitre at once. General Hill started up also ; we mounted our horses and rode together, General Hill being accompanied by one courier, as I remember, who I thought was Tucker. I had no courier with me. On arriving at the branch (it was barely light at the time), we stopped to water our horses and look around. While thus engaged the enemy made his presence known by firing on us some straggling shots from the direction of the huts and hill towards the Boydton plankroad. Soon perceiving half a dozen or more of our own skirmishers near us, who had been driven back by the sudden advance of the enemy, I got General Hill's per- mission to deploy these in front of us so as to make some show of force. It being impossible to go straight on to the Boydton plank- road on the road on which we were riding, we turned to the right and rode up the branch. General Hill, whose sole idea was to reach his troops at all hazards, soon became impatient of the slow progress of our improvised skirmishers, and really there seemed to be no enemy in our front in the direction in which we were riding. So we pressed on ahead of them. After going a short distance it became light enough to see some artillery on the River Road (Cox's) about one hundred and fifty yards distant on the hill to our right. He asked me whose artillery it was. I informed him that it was Poague's bat- talion which came over the night before from Dutch Gap. He re- quested me to go at once and put it into position. I leaped my horse over the branch and carried out his request. This was the last I ever saw of General Hill alive. As I rode across the field and up the the slope towards Poague's battalion he rode up the branch towards a copse of small j^ines, with a few large ones interspersed. It was in this copse, doubdess, that General Hill met hi? death in the manner described by Tucker. The mistakes of Tucker are first as to the dis- tance of the branch in question from the TurnbuU House, which is

i