Monday, April 20, 2015

Where was D. H. Hill?

My next "Stump the historian question" came this past Saturday at the Bennett Place State Historic Site. A gentleman from the audience wanted to know where Confederate Lt. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill was during the surrender negotiations between Johnston and Sherman at the Bennett Place.


First, I turned to Hal Bridges's biography of D. H. Hill, but found nothing. Next I looked at Mark Bradley's This Astounding Close: The Road to the Bennett Place.


We know that Hill spent a lot of late-1864 sitting out the war at his home in Charlotte. On Jan. 21, 1865, he assumed command of the District of Georgia and in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In February, he rejoined the Army of Tennessee. Bradley writes that Hill was in Smithfield on March 22, 1865. D. H. Hill was a guest of William Hardee on April 4, at Hardee's grand review. Robert Dunkerly writes in The Confederate Surrender at Greensboro that this review took place at the Stevens house, near Selma. After these accounts, Hill seems to disappear from both Bradley’s and Dunkerly's accounts.


Next, I went to the official records, but I only found mentions of the General, with nothing about where he personally was during the time frame of the Bennett Place negotiations. Next I browsed through Hill's Compiled Service Record from the National Archives. There are 117 items in his folder, and I will admit that I did not read every page, but I saw nothing pinning him down after April 4, 1865.


Also, I tried to look through various newspapers online, but turned up nothing.


The only other entry is in July 1865, when Hill wrote to US President Andrew Johnson, concerning his presidential pardon. This letter was written from Davidson College.



So for now, I am still stumped about just where Hill was between April 4, 1865, and May 1, 1865, when he was paroled in Greensboro. Maybe someone else knows of Hill's whereabouts. 

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