A native of Virginia, A.P. Hill was a more effective commander than student. He needed five years to finish at West Point, although he finally graduated in 1847 in time to see front-line service in Mexico.
Hill resigned from the U.S. Army during the secession crisis and first achieved prominence as an infantry commander on the Virginia Peninsula in 1862, where he earned a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting of Lee's division commanders. Following the Battle of Williamsburg, he was promoted to major general. After Jackson was mortally wounded, Hill succeeded to corps commander. As the lieutenant general of newly created Third Corps, he fought at Gettysburg and in a number of heavy engagements during the Petersburg siege of 1864-1865.
Hill once said that he had no wish to survive the collapse of the Confederacy. On April 2, 1865, during Grant's final successful assault on Petersburg, advancing Union troops shot him dead as he rode toward the front to rally his broken command.