Company K of the 15th North Carolina Regiment
Hilliard was born 4 Oct 1837 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He was the first of five children of Marvin, a farmer, and Penelope Edward Daws. They lived in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, near Rocky Mount. As a young adult, Hilliard became a blacksmith.
He enlisted in Company K of the 15th North Carolina Regiment, formerly the 5th North Carolina Volunteers, on 24 April 1861 in Edgecombe County, NC. They spent a lot of time in Virginia, and remained there during the Gettysburg campaign. The regiment became a part of Cook’s Brigade, Heth’s Division, and A P Hill’s 3rd Army Corps, Army of Virginia. Hilliard was slightly wounded at Lee’s Farm on 18 April 1862 and again at Malvern Hill on 1 July 1862, and was furloughed, but he returned to duty 11 may 1863.
The following is from the History of the 15th Regiment, written by 1st Lt H C Keraney.
“On the morning of May 5, 1864, Cooke’s Brigade engaged the enemy along Plank Road, occupying the right side of the road. About 2:00 PM, before our lines were completed, the enemy advanced, but was soon repulsed, only to renew the charge with greater force. The battle raged until night, with the 15th holding its position until dark. Ammunition was exhausted, but two other Brigades shared theirs. At the beginning of the battle, the trees and small undergrowth was so thick that we couldn’t see the enemy until they were thirty yards from us. Our first volley broke their lines and hurled them back. This continued all day, with the enemy replenishing theirs lines, but they never got past the point of the first volley. At the end of the day, the ground was covered with small trees and limbs.
The next morning we were on the left of the road, next to Wilcox’s Division. We had worked all night throwing up breastworks for protection to enable us to hold our position. The enemy arrived and forced the troops on the other side of the road back and subjected Cooke’s Brigade to a heavy fire from the right and the rear. Soon Longstreet’s Corps and Anderson’s Division arrived, along with Gregg’s Texas Brigade. A new battle line was formed. The new troops charged and drove the enemy from the field and saved the battle. A few minor skirmishes were engaged during the rest of the day. Our total casualties for the two days were 140.”
No muster records after October 1864, so we don’t know if Hilliard resigned or continued until April 1865. No matter which, he returned to Edgecombe County, NC and became a merchant. On 19 May 1868, he became the father of John Crumpler Beland. In later years, Hilliard was a farmer. Hilliard died 30April 1918 in Rocky Mount, NC , and is buried in Sharpsburg, NC.