In the spring of 1864, Major General D.H. Hill volunteered to serve on the staff of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard as an aide-de-camp. Beauregard trusted Hill's judgment and put him to work in the trenches outside of Petersburg, Virginia. Hill was frequently in the front lines as he advised other commanders, adjusted defenses, and briefly commanded a division. Such duty introduced the Davidson, N.C. resident to the the dangers of siege warfare. In the trenches of Petersburg, a man could die by simply exposing himself to the enemy. Famous for his fearlessness on other battlefields, Hill knew better than to be reckless at Petersburg, but everybody did not share that sentiment. After the war, Hill wrote the following, referring to himself in the third person:
"Upon another occasion, while the writer was looking through a port-hole on a part of the lines where the hostile works were not fifty yards apart, his hat blue [sic] off and fell into the open space between the two lines. A hat was a consideration in those days, but no amount of money would have induced me to have gone after my lost slouch. A soldier offered to get it — I protested, but he was off and soon returned with the hat. ‘How did you get it?’ ‘Oh! I crawled on my hands and knees — the Yankees shot at me six or eight times, but they did not hit me and it’s all right.’ I have not infrequently seen men raise their hands over the breastworks saying that they ‘were feeling for a furlough.’”
From ‘The Haversack,’ The Land We Love V (September 1867), 422.