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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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HILL, James

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HILL, James. (Cheddar, England, Dec. 6, 1822--Sept. 22, 1899). Hill came to the United States in 1849 and arrived in Dubuque in April. He clerked in a dry goods store for some time and served as the city's first Assistant Postmaster until 1853 when he moved to Cascade. He became the regular pastor of the Baptist church. (1) He was later transferred to the Worthington Church, however, during this period he continued to make his home in Cascade. (2)

On August 4, 1863 Lieutenant James Hill (1822-1899) of Company I of the 21st Iowa Infantry, having previously served as an unofficial spiritual counselor to his soldiers, was unanimously elected regimental chaplain. But Hill, a Baptist minister, does not give up his arms. Instead, he continued to lead his troops in battle and became known as the “fighting chaplain.” (3) During the CIVIL WAR, Rev. Hill received the MEDAL OF HONOR for his action at Champion Hills, Mississippi on May 16, 1863. The citation read:

       The President of the United States of America, 
       in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in 
       presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant 
       (Chaplain) James Hill, United States Army, for 
       extraordinary heroism on 16 May 1863, while serving 
      with Company I, 21st Iowa Infantry, in action at 
      Champion Hill (Baker's Creek), Mississippi. By 
      skillful and brave management First Lieutenant 
      Hill captured three of the enemy's pickets. (4)

Hill became one of only four Civil War chaplains to receive the Medal of Honor. (5)

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Source:

1. Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1894, p. 167

2. "The Hall of Valor Project," Online: https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/1477

3. Gourley, Bruce, "Baptists and the American Civil War: August 4, 1863," Baptists and the American Civil War, Online: http://civilwarbaptists.com/thisdayinhistory/1863-august-04/

4. "The Hall of Valor..."

5. Gourley