Interview: Longstreet says A P Hill was a "Curled Darling"

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,040
AP-Hill.jpg
Longstreet on Hill Curled Darling.JPG

On the occasion of Longstreet's visit to Antietam in 1893, a correspondent of the Washington Post recorded the General's opinions and criticisms on a number of topics. Here is what General Longstreet had to say about Ambrose Powell Hill.

"Did Generals Early, Ewell or A. P. Hill size up anywhere near Jackson as leaders in independent command?"

"Not by any means," replied General Longstreet. "Hill was a gallant, good soldier. There was a good deal of 'curled darling' and dress parade about Hill; he was uncertain at times, falling below expectations, while at others he performed prodigies. A division was about Hill's capacity."
It may sound strange to hear someone like A. P. Hill described as a 'curled darling.' I mean, the pictures of him certainly seem contradictory. But in the late 1800's 'curled darling' referred to someone who possessed winning qualities - handsome, bright spirited, possessing the qualities to make him/her well-liked and successful.* And, I suppose that must have described him pretty well. Stay tuned for what Longstreet had to say about Ewell and Early. :D

Note: This post is Part 4 of a series on Longstreet's opinions of various Generals, expressed during an interview with a Washington Post corespondent in 1893. Longstreet's opinions on various generals are posted in separate threads so they can be easily located - Bragg, Early, Ewell, Hill, Joe Johnson, Jeff Davis, Lee, McClellan, Sheridan and more.
Part 1 - Intro to the article
Part 2 - Longstreet on Bragg
Part 3 - Longstreet on Jackson


Sources: Reprinted from the Washington Post of June 1893, the article appeared in The Times Dispatch. (Richmond, VA.), November 12, 1911, page 3.
* Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Henry Mills Alden, Harper & Brothers, 1866, Volume 32, p. 370.


@Eleanor Rose @Union_Buff @FarawayFriend @War Horse @novushomus @GELongstreet @LeesWarhorse @Tom Elmore @Coonewah Creek
If you aren't tagged and would like to know when these are posted, let me know and Ill tag you in future ones.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

rpkennedy

Major
Member of the Month
Joined
May 18, 2011
Messages
9,897
Location
Carlisle, PA
I tend to agree with Longstreet on this point. If Hill could have remained healthy as a corps commander, he likely would have done better but his health broke around the same time as his promotion. It would make an interesting what-if, however.

Ryan
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
1,221
Location
Northern Alabama
I'm sure A.P. Hill was a brave officer. But unfortunately, the one incident I tend to associate most with him was Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863 when he basically led his men into an ambush. Two of Heth's brigades were decimated to no good purpose. As the story goes, the following day, as Lee and Hill rode together over the ghastly battlefield, Hill sought to explain the previous day's misfortunes, basically making excuses. Lee listened quietly, the sad expression on his face clearly showing his disappointment. He then reportedly said after Hill had finished, "Well, well, General, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it." Those words, coming from General Lee, were probably as strong a rebuke ever given to one of his senior officers. Although Hill of course retained command of III Corps, I wonder if Lee ever really had confidence in him after that day.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
20,469
Location
State of Jefferson
Maybe Longstreet felt Hill was favored - he did with Jeb Stuart. Or it was the flaming red shirt! But he made a good assessment of A P Hill - he might have added Hood to that category as well. Both were excellent division commanders but each had the fatal flaw of impulsiveness and pride. Both were ill, too, and used up by the war. Hill wasn't sick before the war but became so during - if he had been healthy he may not have made terrible mistakes like Bristoe Station, or letting Heth go shoe hunting...(or whatever he was hunting!) He could sure pull the fat out of the fire, though. The Light Division was a crack outfit - nobody was unhappy to see Hill show up at a fight!
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
6,040
That's a new term for me, "curled darling!" No surprise that Longstreet was highly opinionated about his military colleagues and his own abilities so his views should be taken with a grain of salt.
I like Longstreet. He's probably my favorite Confederate general. I certainly admire his abilities as a corps commander and respect his commitment to collaboration after the war. Still, I find it interesting that he is so free with his comments on others' abilities (or lack thereof) at independent command, when his in East TN was such a disaster? Wait till you see what he had to say about Early as an independent commander. :unsure: I'll be posting that up later today, in a separate thread.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
1,221
Location
Northern Alabama
I like Longstreet. He's probably my favorite Confederate general. I certainly admire his abilities as a corps commander and respect his commitment to collaboration after the war.
I always found it interesting that while Longstreet was always represented as preferring to fight on the tactical defensive, he led the most successful offensive assaults of both the ANV and the AoT ...oh well, there is Knoxville of course.
 

rpkennedy

Major
Member of the Month
Joined
May 18, 2011
Messages
9,897
Location
Carlisle, PA
I always found it interesting that while Longstreet was always represented as preferring to fight on the tactical defensive, he led the most successful offensive assaults of both the ANV and the AoT ...oh well, there is Knoxville of course.
I think a lot of that perception has to do with the post-war argument about Gettysburg and Longstreet's desire for the tactical defense which got extrapolated as his position on everything. Historically, it's a ridiculous assertion, as you pointed out.

Ryan
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top