Ambrose Powell Hill was born just west of Culpeper, Va. On Nov. 9,1825. The Hill family was representative of the landed gentry of Virginia. The family dates back to the twelfth century England descending from King Henry II.. Henry Hill and his brother migrated to the new colony barely 20 years after the first settlement in Jamestown. The Hill family were the original settlers in Culpeper County after George Washington surveyed it.By teenage Powell, as his mother called him, was living in the town of Culpeper with his family of well to do merchants. He was accepted in the United States Military Academy in 1842, a member of what would become the famous class of '46 but due to serous illness he had to repeat his third year and did not graduate until 1847 . During the fist years at the Academy his roommate who would become his best friend and romantic rival was George B. McClellan. He became friends with George E. Pickett among other future war generals. Thomas J. Jackson was in the same class but he had a cool relationship with him from the beginning. Hill got into the Mexican War at the very end and said he fought more Texan volunteers than he did Mexicans. He was in Florida during the Seminole Wars and got yellow fever. He was then assigned to the Atlantic Coast Survey and served until he resigned his Commission in the Army before Virginia succeeded from the Union to join the new Confederate Army. His family owned no slaves and had a low opinion of the practice. He orginized the 13th Va infantry and was made their first Colonel. He was assigned to Longstreet's Brigade and was held in reserve during the 1st Battle of Manassas.In March he was promoted to Brigadier General and fought at the Battle of Williamsburg and the Seven Days. In May he was promoted to Major General making him the youngest Major General in the Confederate Army at the time. Due to rivelries involving the newspapers of Richmond between Hill and Longstreet almost resulting in a duel, the Commanding General, Robert E. Lee transferred him to his old classmate's Corp, that of Thomas J. [Stonewall] Jackson. He got along even worse with his new commander with a series of charges placed against him. He was placed in arrest a number of times. Once because of a question regarding the rising of the moon. His Division called the Light Division even though it was the largest in the army was known for "traveling light, eating light, marching hard and fighting hard". They saved the day for the army on more than one occasion. Notably at Slaughter Mountain, 2nd Manassas and at Sharpsburg one of the most famous forced marches and surprise attacks in history his Light Division literately saved the Confederate Army from enilasion. At Fredericksburg his line was broken and the old Fire-Eater Macy Gregg was killed. At Chancellorsville he preformed with great skill. Shortly after Gen. Jackson's accidental wounding Powell Hill with Jackson's head cradled in his arm made peace with each other.Command was passed over to him but soon he was also wounded by an artillery fragment and the Command was then passed over to J.E.B. Stuart. After Jackson's death General Lee divided the army into three Corps. 1st Corps will remain with Longstreet, 2nd Corps will be commanded by Richard Ewell and 3rd Corps is given to A.P. Hill after his promotion to Lieutenant General. At his first battle at Gettysburg he was ill and was not up to his usual standards. In the fall of 1863 his Battle of Bristow Station was a disaster. He was ill again at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864 and was not totally effective until Cold Harbor. During the attempted siege of Richmond and Petersburg he was in the trenches with his troops battling illness on and off. On April 2,1865 Powell Hill got up from his sick bed to rally his troops. He knew what was coming from the increased enemy artillery. He, Charles Venable and two other aids road out toward the sound of guns. The Yankee advance had become disorganize and Hill unknowingly had rode in between the first and second attack. Federal stragglers were everywhere. After two Yankees surrendered, Hill and Sargent Tucker rode on then came upon two more enemy soldiers. Tucker demanded they surrender then Hill pulled his revolver and cried "surrender". The Yankees, no more than 20 yards away, steadied their rifles against a tree one over the other and fired.. Tucker was missed but one .58 cal ball clipped off Hills left thumb then passed though his heart and out his back. He spun and fell off his horse. A.P. Hill was dead. Seven days later Gen. Lee surrendered The Army of Northern Virginia. On June 6 Dolly Hill gave birth to Powell's fourth child.
Rod Saunders started living history serving with the 17th Va. Infantry, the same regiment his Great-Great Uncle fought with during the conflict. He portrayed his Great Grandfather who rode with Mosby's Partisan Rangers in the movie "Spies in Crinoline". He has portrayed Confederate General Robert Ransom Jr. and his brother Matt.