Captain Edward Hill and the 16th Michigan Volunteers in Grant's Virginia Campaign
Carl Guarneri, Saint Mary's College History department
The diary of Captain Edward Hill conveys the pleasures, hardships, and heroism of a Union soldier who served in the Civil War's climactic showdown in Virginia between the armies of General Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee. Hill and his regiment, the 16th Michigan Infantry, took part in many of the Army of the Potomac's key battles, but information about his daily wartime activities is only available from February 16, 1864 to July 27, 1864 through jottings in his diary. At the beginning of this period Hill enjoyed a leisurely return to his regiment after a brief furlough in Michigan, then socialized with friends and went to the theater in Baltimore and Washington. In mid-April 1864 he rejoined his men at their camp near Bealton Station, Virginia, and during the relentless Union offensive of May they took part in the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and North Anna. Hill was wounded near Cold Harbor on June 1, 1864 prior to the Battle of Cold Harbor and would later receive the Medal of Honor for his heroic leadership. The diary continues during Hill's recovery, chronicling his progress and daily visitors while he recuperated at Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C.
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