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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Lieut. Edward Bayard Hill

On the list of patriotic names of the brave and gallant men who went forth to battle, and perchance to death for the salvation of their country in the hour of her greatest peril, that of Edward Bayard Hill claims a place in the foremost rank.

He descended from a parentage of strongly marked and striking characteristics, and gave unequivocal evidence that he inherited a large share of the intellectual power and energy, which distinguished both his father and his grandfather. The latter at the age of lifteen years, entered the Revolutionary army almost at the commencement of that great struggle, and continued in it to the end. It is probable that he never attended school a single day in his life. He was therefore truly a self-made man. At an early day after the close of the Revolutionary war, he purchased a farm in the town of Florida, in the county of Montgomery, upon which he resided, and which he cultivated with his own hands for a period of over sixty years, and until his death, which occurred about nine years ago.

At the time Mr. Hill the elder settled in Florida, the country was new and mechanics were few and far between. To a man of his intellectual resources and indomitable will, this occasioned little or no inconvenience.

He wanted a house and a barn, and he built them. He wanted blacksmith work, and he furnished it from his own hands. Indeed, whatever he needed for himself and family, he made. He did all this, although he had never served one day as an apprentice to any trade. Some years after the close of the revolutionary war, Mr. Hill united with the Methodist Episcopal church, and became an effective local preacher of that denomination. His discourses were marked with the fervor and earnestness which might have been expected from a strong but uncultivated intellect.

A gentleman of high standing in the county of Montgomery, who was perfectly competent to express an opinion upon such a subject, was accustomed to say that if Nicholas Hill, the elder, had been an educated man and had directed his attention to either of the learned professions, he would have made a very distinguished man—a declaration in which all who knew him most heartily concur.

Mr. Hill, the elder, was a man of most commanding and imposing presence. He was tall, erect and well proportioned. His face was strongly marked with those intellectual qualities which arrest attention and command respect. He was one who could not walk the street without arresting the attention of the passerby, and being recognized, at once, as a man of mark.

Nicholas Hill, Jr., the father of Lieutenant Hill, and one of the most distinguished members of the American bar, was too well known to require any particular description. He had the advantage of his father in the enjoyment of a common school education. But not satisfied with this he left the paternal roof and by his own energy secured academic advantages, which his father's means were not sufficient to provide.

Lieutenant Hill was born in the county of Saratoga, but came with his father to Albany at an early period of his life, where he resided some twenty years before he entered the service.

He studied law with his father, and obtained a license to practice. After his father's death, he became a partner in the firm of Cagger, Porter & Hill. His professional career was hardly opened, when he was summoned to another field of action. When the news of the attack on Fort Sumter reached the north, Lieutenant Hill, in common with thousands of our young men whose names have since become historic, at once resolved to enter the service of his country.

He applied to several influential friends of Albany to sign a recommendation for his appointment to some office in the regular army. He obtained such a recommendation and started for Washington, at that critical juncture when the massacre of the Massachusetts soldiers at Baltimore had interrupted all communication between the northern States and the Capital. To get to Washington through Baltimore at that time, required all the courage, coolness, and strategical skill, which are usually needful in the movements of armies through a hostile territory. That coolness and that skill were exhibited by the youthful private, in making his way to the quarters of the beleaguered Commander-in-chief.

He went to Washington through Baltimore, and his arrival there at midnight, by a devious and perilous route, with important military intelligence from the north, was a joyful surprise to General Scott, the President and Cabinet. The value of the service was immediately recognized by his appointment as a Lieutenant in the regular army.

Lieutenant Hill had command of a battery in the first Bull Run battle, in July, 1861, and young and inexperienced as he was, obtained the credit, which cannot be awarded to all, upon that occasion, of saving his battery and bringing it back to the Union lines uncaptured and unsurrendered.

In one of the battles on the Chickahominy, in July, 1862, Lieut. Hill was wounded in the arm by a Minnie ball, which entered his wrist and came out near the shoulder. The wound, though severe, was not deemed mortal. He was brought to the Brevoort House, in New York, where every attention was bestowed upon him by an affectionate mother and kind friends; but these proved unavailing, and he died on the 13th of June, 1862, in the twenty-eighth year of his age.

His manly bearing as an officer, his courteous treatment of his subordinates, his coolness and unquestioned bravery in the hour of conflict, had greatly endeared him to all his companions in arms, and to all with whom he had become acquainted. He possessed all those qualities which were well calculated to inspire hopes of distinguished services and a brilliant professional career.

Thus perished one among the thousands of those generous and patriotic young men who, like Lieut. Hill, rushed into the combat, and freely gave their lives for the freedom and independence of their country.

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