The Baltimore American, of May 29, 1892, in a long article describing how General Hill was killed, reproduces the account of his courier, Sergeant Tucker, (*) and also a statement from Corporal John W. Mauk, of Company F, One-Hundred-and-Thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, who claims that he fired the fatal shot, and who, at the time, was in company with Private Daniel Wolford, of the same company. Mauk's statement is as follows:
On the morning of the 2d of April, 1865, after the rebel works had been carried in the front, the main portion of the troops deployed to the left inside the enemy's works. A portion of the Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixth Army Corps, became separated from the main body, and pushed forward to the railroad and a wagon road, running parallel with each other.
Comrade Daniel Wolford and myself, of Company F, One-Hundred-and-Thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, reached this point.
We came to a saw-mill just across the railroad, and close to it, under a slab-pile near the track, we found some crow-bars, with which we tore up two rails of the track. Previous to this, however, we who were separated from the others saw a wagon-train passing along and advanced, firing on it, expecting to capture it. This accounts for our advancing in this direction.
After tearing up the track we went obliquely to the left from the railroad, in the direction of a swamp about a half or three-quarters of a mile from the saw-mill, which we had passed to the right when firing on the train, and going in the direction of the railroad.
Here we attempted to cross back on the Corduroy road, which led through the swamp toward a body of our men on the hill near the former line of the rebel works. These men were stragglers who had been lost from their commands, and were making coffee and eating breakfast. Just as we entered the swamp we saw two men on horseback coming from the direction of Petersburg, who had the appearance of officers. They advanced until they came to the men on the hill; they then turned and rode toward us. We had just entered the swamp, when they advanced with cocked revolvers in their hands, which were leveled at us. Seeing a large oak tree close to the road, we took it for protection against any movement they would be likely to make. Seemingly by direction of his superior, one of the rebel officers remained behind. The other advanced with his revolver pointed at us, and demanded our surrender, saying, "Surrender, or I will shoot you. A body of troops are advancing on our left (i.e., from the direction of Petersburg), and you will have to surrender, anyway!" The officer still advanced and peremptorily demanded, "Surrender your arms." I said "I could not see it," and said to Comrade Wolford, "Let us shoot them."
We immediately raised our guns and fired, I bringing my man from his saddle.
The other officer, throwing himself forward on the horse's neck, rode off in the direction from which they had come, while the horse of the other followed. We knowing not what was on our flank, and not being able to see in that direction, backed out and went farther down the swamp, and crossed to the men on the hill.
Shortly afterwards I told Comrade Wolford that I would go and see what the officer had with him. I went a short distance, and saw what I took to be a skirmish line advancing. I went back and got part of the men on the hill--perhaps ten or fifteen--and deployed them as skirmishers for self defence. The advancing line came within hailing distance. I ordered them to halt, which they did. Then I said: "Throw up your arms, advance, and give an account of yourselves."
On being questioned they said they had captured some rebel prisoners, and were taking them to the rear. Six or eight were carrying guns and were dressed in our uniform. About that many were without guns, and wore rebel uniforms. I took their word and let them go. Turning round they asked me if a man had been killed near there. I told them I had killed an officer in the swamp. They went off in that direction. I had no suspicions at the time, but afterward thought this was a Confederate ruse to get the body of the man I had just killed. Comrade Wolford and myself shortly after this joined our regiment, and nothing more was thought of the affair until summoned to brigade and corps headquarters to answer questions.
After I had given a statement of the affair General Wright asked me if I knew whom I had killed. I told him that I did not. He said: "You have killed General A. P. Hill, of the Confederate army."
All this occurred on the morning after the rebel works had been carried, on the 2d of April, 1865.
JOHN W. MAUK.