Ambrose Powell Hill began his military career after graduating 15th out of 38 from the United States Military Academy in 1847. After graduation he served with an artillery unit during the Mexican-American War as well as the Seminole War.
On March 1, 1861, Hill resigned from the United States Army and became a colonel of the 13th Virginia, commanding a unit at the Battle of First Manassas. On February 26, 1863, Hill received a promotion to brigadier general. Following the promotion, Hill served gallantly at the Battle of Williamsburg and during the Peninsula Campaign. As a result of his leadership, Hill was promoted to major general on May 26, 1862. Hill commanded well during the Seven Days Battles, becoming a very important component to General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s army. Hill fought well at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, the Second Battle of Bull Run, served a crucial role at the Battle of Antietam, and fought well at the Battle of Fredericksburg. At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Hill took over for General Jackson after he was mortally wounded, but was later wounded himself. After the battle, Hill received the rank of lieutenant general on May 24, 1863, and became commander of the 3rd corps in General Robert E. Lee’s army. Hill commanded the corps during the Battle of Gettysburg, where he received criticism for some of his command decisions. During the Battle of Gettysburg, Hill's decisions and actions on the first day of the battle led to engaging the Union army before the entire Confederate army had arrived. After Gettysburg, Hill went on to serve during the Wilderness Campaign, as well at the Siege of Petersburg. On April 2, 1865, while riding along the defensive lines at Petersburg, Hill was shot and killed by a Federal soldier. Although he received criticism for some of his command decision after his promotion to lieutenant general, General Robert E. Lee still considered A.P. Hill to be one of the Confederate armies’ finest commanders.