Towards Appomattox and Surrender
The Death of Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill - Sunday, April 2, 1865

Confederate General Ambrose Powell HillOn Sunday, April 2, 1865, just a few short days before the war would end, Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill rode out to rally his troops after hearing of a federal attack on the increasingly tenuous lines of the Army of Northern Virginia. Aggressive during the Seven Days Battles, stalwart in defense at 2nd Manassas, a savior at Antietam, A. P. Hill rose through the ranks to become a Lieutenant General and commander of the Army of Northern Virginia's 3rd Corps. On this day, his time with this army would come to a sudden end. In his memoirs, Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet would briefly describe another blow to the south's fading hopes.

"All staff-officers mounted and rode to find the parts of Heth's and Wilcox's divisions that had been forced from their lines. The display of officers riding in many directions seemed to admonish the skirmishers to delay under cover of an intervening swale. The alarm reached General A. P. Hill, of the Third Corps, who rode off to find his troops, but instead came suddenly upon the enemy's skirmishers in their concealment. He wheeled and made a dash to escape, but the Federal fire had deadly effect, the gallant general fell, and the Southern service lost a sword made bright by brave work upon many heavy fields." [56]

Confederate General John Brown Gordon would also write briefly of the circumstances surrounding A. P. Hill's death. Discussing Union breaks in the Confederate lines, General Gordon would write, "I was in the act of concentrating for a supreme effort to restore this last breach, when Colonel Charles Marshall of General Lee's staff reached me with a message from the commander-in-chief. It was to admonish me of the dire disaster at Five Forks on the extreme right flank of our army, of the approach of the triumphant and overwhelming Union forces in rear of our defenses, of the forced abandonment by A. P. Hill of his works, and of the death of that superb officer." [57]

General A P Hill death markerToday, in an isolated section of woods near the Boydton Plank Road between the city of Petersburg and the Five Forks battlefield, a lonely marker notes the spot where Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill lost his life. A fading wreath and Confederate flags show the respect some still hold for the memory of the southern general. "Little Powell" as he was affectionately known is buried in Richmond Virginia, the capital he died protecting.