On May 12th, as the fighting raged in the vicinity of the “Bloody
Angle,” in order to keep up the pressure of the Federal assault on the Mule Shoe, General Meade ordered Warren’s 5th Corps to assault the area known as Laurel Hill which lay immediately to the west. Already the scene of tremendous loss on May 8th through May 10th, portions of Switzer’s brigade composed of the 62nd Pennsylvania, 9th and 32nd Massachusetts’s carried forward with an assault that reached the vicinity of the ruins of the Spindle house. Waiting was Parker’s Virginia Battery and Bratton’s South Carolina Brigade. Parker’s battery exploded in a torrent of shell and canister and in Bratton’s words his troops “by a deliberate and well directed volley…..strewed the field with dead and wounded from their scattered and flying hordes.” First stunned and knocked down by an exploding shell, Lieutenant Colonel James C. Hull, commanding officer of the 62nd, rose from the ground only to be struck by a ball in the hip. After witnessing the results of Switzer’s attack, the rest of the 5th Corps troops refused to advance. Removed from the field at some point, Hull was eventually transferred to a hospital in Washington, DC where surgeons attempted to remove a ball lodged in his hipbone.
An acquaintance only identified as D.L.E. wrote the following for the Pittsburg paper.
The operation of extracting the ball was performed on Thursday last. The missile was found so firmly fixed in the bone of the hip that it was only by an effort of the strength it was taken away even after a dreadful incision had been made in the flesh above it. I do not think the nervous system ever rallied from the shock…….When Sabbath bells pulsing on the calm air I went again to his bedside. The shadow had fallen upon him. Hull succumbed to his wounds on May 22.
The Pittsburg papers provided a resolution of tribute that read in part….. “Amid the rejoicing of a nation in the overthrow of her enemies we are call upon to mourn the untimely death of a patriot soldier, cut down in the prime of his glory and usefulness by the ruthless hand of treason, while nobly defending a nation’s honor; and whereas, by the demise of our beloved commander and fellow soldier, Colonel James C. Hull, the cause of liberty and right has been deprived of one of its most zealous advocates, and we have lost a faithful officer and a true tried friend.”
James C. Hull was born on 16 January 1829 in Allegheny, PA (now part
of Pittsburgh). Before the war he was a carpenter. He was described as having black hair, gray eyes, fair complexion and 5’ 11 ½” tall. He was buried at his family gravesite at Uniondale Cemetery in Pittsburgh accompanied to his grave by friends and former soldiers of the 62d. He left behind his wife Caroline, daughter Mary and son James. Caroline never remarried and became a housekeeper in Pittsburg in the years after. She passed and joined him in 1913