Criticism of his army commander, Braxton Bragg, to Jefferson Davis cost South Carolinian West Pointer (1842) Daniel H. Hill his corps command and his promotion to lieutenant general in the Confederate army. Posted to the artillery, he had won two brevets in the Mexican War before resigning as a first lieutenant in the 4th Artillery in 1849. Active in education until the outbreak of the Civil War, he was superintendent of the North Carolina Military Institute in 1861.
Commanding a regiment of six-months volunteers, he played a leading role in the Confederate victory at Big Bethel. Promoted to brigadier general, he served for a time in northern Virginia and then returned to the Peninsula as a division leader with the rank of major general. He saw action at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, and during the Seven Days. Left in southeastern Virginia during the 2nd Bull Run Campaign, he rejoined Lee’s army for the Maryland Campaign, performing well at both South Mountain and Antietam. His last battle with the Army of Northern Virginia came at Fredericksburg. He then returned to command the Department of North Carolina until named a lieutenant general and ordered to Bragg’s army. He took over Hardee’s old corps, leading it at Chickamauga. Disgusted with Bragg’s failure to reap the benefits of the victory he made his view known to the president, who still supported his friend. Hill was relieved of corps command and Davis refused to submit his nomination as lieutenant general to the Senate. Thus he reverted to a major generalcy on October 15, 1863.
His next action came as a volunteer on Beauregard’s staff at Drewry’s Bluff and Petersburg. He was in command of a provisional division for a couple of days. Ordered to the Atlantic coast he finished out the war with Joseph E. Johnston’s army in the Carolinas as a division commander. After the surrender he returned to education and engaged in literary and historical writing.
- Colonel, lst North Carolina Volunteers (May 1 1, 1861)
- Commanding Department of the Peninsula (May 31 – June 1861)
- Brigadier General,CSA July 10, 1861) Commanding Department of Fredericksburg July 17 – July 1861)
- Commanding District of the Pamlico, Department of North Carolina (ca. October 4 – November 16, 186 1)
- Commanding lst Brigade, 3rd (Longstreet’s) Division, Potomac District, Department of Northern Virginia (November 16, 1861 – January 1862)
- Commanding Forces at Leesburg, Potomac District, Department of Northern Virginia (January – March 1862)
- Major General, CSA (March 26, 1862)
- Commanding 4th (Van Dorn’s old) Division, Department of Northern Virginia (March – July 17, 1862)
- Commanding Department of North Carolina (July 17 – August 1862 and April 1 – July 1, 1863)
- Commanding division, Jackson’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (August 1862 – April 1, 1863)
- Commanding Valley District, Army of Northern Virginia (September 6, 1862)
- Lieutenant General, CSA (July 11, 1863)
- Commanding 2nd (Hardee’s old) Corps, Army of Tennessee (July 24 – November 8, 1863)
- Volunteer Aide-De-Camp, Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia (May 5-18 and May 21-ca. June 1864)
- Commanding division, Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia (May 18-2 1, 1864)
- Commanding District of Georgia, Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida January 21-ca. March 1865)
- Commanding division, Lee’s Corps, Army of Tennessee (ca. March and late March-April 26, 1865)
- Commanding the corps (late March 1865)
(Bridges, Leonard Hal, Lee’s Maverick General,Daniel HatM Hill)