#Arroyomolinos1811 The Commanders: Rowland Hill was born 11 August 1772 at Prees Hall in Shropshire. The 4th of 16 children, 5 out 6 of his brothers also served in the army. He was said to have been a gentle & kind child but at 17 rejected a career in law & opted for the army.
His father arranged a commission in the 38th Foot, and education at a military school in Strasbourg. He quickly rose in rank by raising recruits & swapping between regiments. In 1794 he was serving as an ADC at the siege of Toulon, where he met & befriended Thomas Graham.
After Toulon Graham offered Hill a majority if he raised troops for his new 90th Foot. When regiment was augmented Hill became Lt. Col. By 1801 he was a full colonel & led the 90th during the Egyptian campaign in 1801, where he was wounded by shot to the head. 1805 became Maj Gen
Hill met Arthur Wellesley during brief campaign in Germany & then in 1808 was placed under his command for expedition that ended up going to Portugal. Hill commanded 1st brigade at Roliça & Vimeiro. When Wellesley returned Hill soon given command of corps covering south flank.
The most commonly quoted fact about Hill is his nickname of 'Daddy Hill' earned by his care for his men. There is often a connotation of softness that goes along with it. But Hill was not afraid to drive his men hard, take calculated risks & lose men in battle if needed.
The events of Arroyomolinos & Almaraz are good illustrations of his determination & zeal. His style of command was very different to Wellington's though. Charles Rooke, Hill's AAG, wrote ‘He likes to see everything well done, but at the same time makes no fuss, and places...
... the utmost confidence in those under him.’ Wellington trusted Hill with a semi-independent command for much of the Peninsular campaign but when Hill was possibly inline for command in North America he wrote 'Hill is an excellent fellow; but I should say that he wants a...
...commander. He likes his troops in order, but he is too good natured to exert himself about it, and he would require some assistance in that way.' I think this comment may relate to Hill's habit of delegation that Wellington, a famous micro-manager, failed to appreciate.
Hill won a famous victory at St. Pierre towards the end of the Peninsular War, & then served at Waterloo, but he never really got the chance to show what he could have done with his own command. He became commander-in-chief of the army, and died in 1842.
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