Captain Hill is the founding officer of Fort Steilacoom. Ordered to construct a post on the Puget Sound in 1848, Capt. Hill negotiated a lease with the Hudson’s Bay Company that would provide a site for Cos. L and M/1st Artillery to live on and operate.
Hill, 32 years old, arrived at Ft. Steilacoom an experienced officer of 10 years in the service. Born in Washington, D.C. and an 1837 USMA graduate, Hill served in various capacities with the 1st Artillery. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in 1838 and to captain of Co. M ten years later after seeing service in the Mexican War. By 1853, Hill’s command was replaced by two companies of the 4th Infantry.
In December 1854, Captain Hill received orders to lead aggressive patrols in the Florida Everglades in an effort to confine or kill Koontee insurgents. One year later (1855), Captain Hill found himself in the middle of the Third Seminole War.
As the Civil War opened in 1861, Capt. Hill, now in Texas, defied the demands of Texas militiamen to surrender his post and men near today’s Brownsville. He subsequently evacuated his command and was promoted to the rank of major in the 2nd Artillery in August 1861. Two months later, Major Hill took command of Fort Taylor, a masonry coastal artillery fort near today’s Key West, Florida.
After a brief sojourn at Ft. Taylor, Hill gained promotion to Lt. Col. In the 5th Artillery. He spent the remainder of the war in Michigan as that state’s Assistant Provost Marshal General. His responsibilities included the enrollment and drafting of volunteer troops and the investigation of seditious activities. Hill later achieved the rank of Brigadier General after the war. He died in 1886.