About Daniel Harvey Hill
Daniel Harvey Hill (July 12, 1821 – September 24, 1889) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War and a Southern scholar. He was known as an aggressive leader, and as an austere, deeply religious man, with a dry, sarcastic humor. He was brother-in-law to Stonewall Jackson, a close friend to both James Longstreet and Joseph E. Johnston, but disagreements with both Robert E. Lee and Braxton Bragg cost him favor with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Although his military ability was well respected, he was underutilized by the end of the Civil War due to the aforementioned political reasons.
Daniel Harvey Hill is usually referred to as D.H. Hill in historical writing, in part to distinguish him from A.P. Hill, who served with him in the Army of Northern Virginia.
D.H. Hill was born at Hill's Iron Works, in York District, South Carolina to Solomon and Nancy Cabeen Hill. His paternal grandfather, Col. William "Billy" Hill, was a native of Ireland who had an iron foundry in York District where he made cannon for the Continental Army. His maternal grandfather was a native of Scotland. Hill graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1842, ranking 28 out of 56 cadets, and was appointed to the 1st United States Artillery. He distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War, being brevetted to captain for bravery at the Battle of Contreras and Churubusco, and brevetted to major for bravery at the Battle of Chapultepec.
In February 1849, Hill resigned his commission and became a professor of mathematics at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), in Lexington, Virginia. At Washington he wrote a college textbook for the Southern United States market, Elements of Algebra, which "with quiet, sardonic humor, points a finger of ridicule or scorn at any and everything Northern." While not all of the textbook's questions were "anti-Yankee", many were, such as:
The field of battle at Buena Vista is 6½ miles from Saltillo. Two Indiana volunteers ran away from the field of battle at the same time; one ran half a mile per hour faster than the other, and reached Saltillo 5 minutes and 54 6/11 seconds sooner than the other. Required their respective rates of travel.
A man in Cincinnati purchased 10,000 pounds of bad pork, at 1 cent per pound, and paid so much per pound to put it through a chemical process, by which it would appear sound, and then sold it at an advanced price, clearing $450 by the fraud. The price at which he sold the pork per pound, multiplied by the cost per pound of the chemical process, was 3 cents. Required the price at which he sold it, and the cost of the chemical process.
By contrast, "Southerners in his problems invariably appear in a favorable light."
In 1854, he joined the faculty of Davidson College, North Carolina, and was, in 1859, made superintendent of the North Carolina Military Institute of Charlotte.
Marriage and children
On November 2, 1848, he married Isabella Morrison, who was the daughter of Robert Hall Morrison, a Presbyterian minister and the first president of Davidson College, and through her mother, a niece of North Carolina Governor William Alexander Graham. They would have nine children in all. One son, Daniel Harvey Hill, Jr., would serve as president of North Carolina State College, (now North Carolina State University.) Their youngest son, Joseph Morrison, would preside as the Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1904 to 1909.
In July 1857, Isabella's younger sister, Mary Anna, married Professor Thomas J. Jackson of the Virginia Military Institute. Hill and Jackson, who would later earn the nickname "Stonewall" as a Confederate officer, had crossed paths during the Mexican-American War, and later developed a closer friendship when both men lived in Lexington, Virginia in the 1850s. Also in 1857, Jackson endorsed Elements of Algebra as "superior to any other work with which I am acquainted on the same branch of science."
At the outbreak of the Civil War, D.H. Hill was made colonel of the 1st North Carolina Infantry, at the head of which he won the Battle of Big Bethel, near Fort Monroe, Virginia, on June 10, 1861. Shortly after this, he was promoted to brigadier general and commanded troops in the Richmond area. By the spring of 1862, he was a major general and division commander in the Army of Northern Virginia. He participated in the Yorktown and Williamsburg operations that started the Peninsula Campaign in the spring of 1862, and as a major general, led a division with great distinction in the Battle of Seven Pines and the Seven Days Battles. Hill's division was left in the Richmond area while the rest of the army went north and did not participate in the Northern Virginia Campaign.
It wasn't war; it was murder.
D.H. Hill following the Battle of Malvern Hill (Seven Days Battles)
On July 22, 1862, Hill and Union Maj. Gen. John A. Dix concluded an agreement for the general exchange of prisoners between the Union and Confederate armies. This agreement became known as the Dix-Hill Cartel.
In the Maryland Campaign of 1862, Hill's men fought at South Mountain. Scattered as far north as Boonsboro, Maryland when the fighting began, the division fought tooth and nail, buying Lee's army enough time to concentrate at nearby Sharpsburg. Hill's division saw fierce action in the infamous sunken road ("Bloody Lane") at Antietam, and he rallied a few detached men from different brigades to hold the line at the critical moment. He had three horses shot out from under him during the battle.
Hill's division was largely unengaged at the Battle of Fredericksburg. At this point, conflicts with Lee began to surface. On the reorganization of the Army of Northern Virginia after Stonewall Jackson's death, Hill was not appointed to a corps command. He already had been detached from Lee's Army and sent to his home state to recruit troops. During the Gettysburg Campaign he led Confederate reserve troops protecting Richmond, and successfully resisted a half-hearted advance by Union forces under John A. Dix and Erasmus Keyes in late June. In 1863, he was sent to the newly reorganized Army of Tennessee, with a provisional promotion to lieutenant general, to command one of Gen. Braxton Bragg's corps. In the bloody and confused victory at Chickamauga, Hill's forces saw some of the heaviest fighting. Afterward, Hill joined several other generals openly condemning Bragg's failure to exploit the victory. President Jefferson Davis came to personally resolve this dispute, in Bragg's favor, and to the detriment of those unhappy generals. The Army of Tennessee was reorganized again, and Hill was left without a command. Davis then refused to confirm Hill's promotion, effectively demoting him back to major general. Because of this, Hill was mostly relegated to the sidelines for the rest of the war and fought in no more significant battles.
After that, D.H. Hill commanded as a volunteer in smaller actions away from the major armies. Hill participated in the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina, the last, sad fight of the Army of Tennessee. Hill was a division commander when he, along with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, surrendered on April 26, 1865.
From 1866 to 1869, Hill edited a magazine, The Land We Love, at Charlotte, North Carolina, which dealt with social and historical subjects, and had a great influence in the South. In 1877, he became the first president of the University of Arkansas, a post that he held until 1884, and, in 1885, president of the Military and Agricultural College of Milledgeville, Georgia until August 1889, when he resigned due to failing health. General Hill died at Charlotte the following month, and was buried in Davidson College Cemetery.
The main library at North Carolina State University is named after Daniel Harvey Hill, Jr. (1859 – 1924), the son of Gen. D. H. Hill.