Book Review Good bio of D.H. Hill free on-line...

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
I was noodling around the internet and found a good bio of D.H. Hill by doctoral degree candidate Brit Kimberly Erslev at the University of North Carolina. Completed in 2011, Erslev's dissertation is titled “NEARLY THERE:” DANIEL HARVEY HILL, PROPONENT AND TARGET OF THE LOST CAUSE, but might be more accurately described as a modern biography of the man's whole life, including his post-war career as a leading figure in the early development of the Lost Cause mythos.

See https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/210602369.pdf

I'm an admirer of Hal Bridges' 1961 bio of Hill Lee's Maverick General, but am also aware of Gary Gallagher's complaint that Bridges concentrates too closely on Hill's career 1861-1865, at the expense of some rich material in the postwar era. Hill was one of the founders of the Lost Cause movement and his post-war writings were pretty influential, Gallagher notes, and deserve further attention from scholars. Erslev answers this complaint rather nicely, and I'd reccomend the chapters on Hill's post-war years especially. (The pre-war chapters on his family background and Mexican war experiences are also excellent.)

Erslev's advisor on the dissertation was noted Civil War historian Joseph Glatthaar, so lovers of battlefield history should have no fear that these elements of Hill's career are given short shrift. I'm not a good analyst of military tactics or military narrative, but the treatment here seemed solid to me, although perhaps less detailed than in Bridges.

Erslev's dissertation adds up to about 325 pages typescript, which I am guessing would amount to about 175 pages if published in a standard book format, so it amounts to a quick read for most of you Civil War book lovers. Nice work overall, I'd say, even if the author seems rather over-generous to the subject in a lot of cases.

I'd enjoy a general discussion of Hill, especially leading up the Anitetam CWT muster coming up soon.
 
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Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I was noodling around the internet and found a good bio of D.H. Hill by doctoral degree candidate Brit Kimberly Erslev at the University of North Carolina. Completed in 2011, Erslev's dissertation is titled “NEARLY THERE:” DANIEL HARVEY HILL, PROPONENT AND TARGET OF THE LOST CAUSE, but might be more accurately described as a modern biography of the man's whole life, including his post-war career as a leading figure in the early development of the Lost Cause mythos.

See https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/210602369.pdf

I'm an admirer of Hal Bridges' 1961 bio of Hill Lee's Maverick General, but am also aware of Gary Gallagher's complaint that Bridges concentrates too closely on Hill's career 1861-1865, at the expense of some rich material in the postwar era. Hill was one of the founders of the Lost Cause movement and his post-war writings were pretty influential, Gallagher notes, and deserve further attention from scholars. Erslev answers this complaint rather nicely, and I'd reccomend the chapters on Hill's post-war years especially. (The pre-war chapters on his family background and Mexican war experiences are also excellent.)

Erslev's advisor on the dissertation was noted Civil War historian Joseph Glatthaar, so lovers of battlefield history should have no fear that these elements of Hill's career are given short shrift. I'm not a good analyst of military tactics or military narrative, but the treatment here seemed solid to me, although perhaps less detailed than in Bridges.

Erslev's dissertation adds up to about 325 pages typescript, which I am guessing would amount to about 175 pages if published in a standard book format, so it amounts to a quick read for most of you Civil War book lovers. Nice work overall, I'd say, even if the author seems rather over-generous to the subject in a lot of cases.

I'd enjoy a general discussion of Hill, especially leading up the Anitetam CWT muster coming up soon.
Good find. Just skimming, among other things it contains a good, succinct and targeted summary of the tactical mess at Seven Pines that was more or less created by Johnston's poorly-articulated and complex plan.
 

Mdiesel

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Location
Maryland
Often when I think about D.H.Hill I recall his remark of standing at Mountain House (Turners Gap) South Mountain & watching McClellen’s long columns coming straight at him while he had a mere 5,000 or so to defend both Turner’s & Fox’s Gap. He said something like, “Loneliest feeling I ever had…” he knew he was in deep!
 
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