Major Hill was the fifth in a family of eight children born to Almira (Usher) and Abel Shepard Hill. He was born on August 29, 1843, in Brazil, Indiana.
When he was sixteen years of age, Roswell went to a military academy in Clinton, Indiana. He spent six months at the military academy and returned home to his parents’ farm. The military training he received at Clinton must have served him well, because he rose gradually in rank to Major in the Civil War.
When he was eighteen years of age, he enlisted in Company F, Tenth Regiment Indiana Infantry. He was mustered in at Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 21, 1861. He became drill master of his company at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, and was also in the post office of that camp until July of that same year. He then joined his regiment, which had been sent to the front, and was under fire on July 11 at Rich Mountain, near Clarksburg, Virginia.
Following the expiration of his three months’ term of enlistment, he was mustered out of service at Indianapolis on August 5, 1861. He became a recruiting officer at Camp Morton on October 1, 1861, having enlisted in Company G., Second Indiana Calvary, under Captain I.S. Leabo. He had enlisted sixty-five men in his company, which was mustered into service on October 4, 1861, for three years during the war. Mr. Hill was commissioned second lieutenant and proceeded through Kentucky into Tennessee, participating in the first engagement at Shiloh, followed by Perryville and Gallatin. The company was also in the battle of Hartsville, Tennessee, and during this engagement Major Samuel Hill, Roswell’s older brother, was captured. The battle of Stone River followed, later Triune, and Shelbyville, Tennessee. The famous “Battle of Chickamauga” in Georgia followed shortly afterwards.
Second Lieutenant Roswell Hill re-enlisted on April 1, 1864, for the remainder of the war at Cleveland, Tennessee. On May 9 he joined General Sherman in the famous “March to the Sea” and captured Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Hill participated in the battles of Buzzard’s Roost and Resaca and returned to Indianapolis on October 4, 1864, where he received his commission as captain. He returned to action, and on April 16, 1865, at West Point, Georgia, Captain Hill was shot through the leg while making a charge. While lying on the ground, he ordered his troops to charge, and his military spirit carried his men to victory. His injury was so bad that he was taken to a cotton factory, and his leg was amputated below the knee. Ten days later he rejoined his command at Macon, Georgia.
When he returned home, he married Mary Eaglesfield, daughter of William and Margaret Eaglesfield, a prominent Clay County family that lived east of Brazil on the National Road. Major Hill became a merchant and farmer and reared his family in Clay County. Then in 1872, he was elected Clay County treasurer and ran the first time as Republican for State Treasurer in 1880. He won and served twice as State Treasurer.
Major Hill died on August 6, 1925, in Brazil, Indiana, and was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.
Contributed by Rhonda Tincher, Clay County Genealogy Society, Center Point, Indiana.
Sources: Clay County Enterprise, April 29, 1880; The Brazil Daily Times, August 7, 1925; March 23, 1955; and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10th_Indiana_Infantry_Regiment