fudge William PckHtqy lill
Aids the Confederate War effort
THE CONFEDERACY HAD ITS OWN FEDERAL COURTS, AND, LIKE
the federal courts of the United States which preceded
and succeeded them, they dispensed law and equity. But
the Confederate courts were also instruments for strengthening
the war effort. By the exercise of their power to seize and con-
fiscate property of alien enemies (the United States and its cit-
izens) they funnelled into the treasury large sums of money and
property, including, in the case of at least one court, United
The Confederate States had two district courts in Texas, as had
the United States before the war. Thomas J. Devine was judge
in the Western District. In the Eastern District the judge was
William Pinckney Hill, a brilliant man with substantial political
appeal and ambition (twice considered for governor, once for the
state supreme court), but burdened with a complex and baffling
A native of Georgia, Hill was a resident of Texas by 1839.
When the Civil War began, he was practicing law in Marshall;
from there he moved to Galveston when Jefferson Davis appointed
him Confederate States district judge.1
Tracing the activities of Judge Hill's court is made difficult by
lack of records. In a dusty storeroom of the United States District
Court at Galveston are the law, criminal, and admiralty dockets
and the marshal's fee books. In 1861, they were expensive, new
books, bound in morocco with gold lettering; the Confederacy
would have none of the leftover books of the enemy. Strangely,
'Galveston News, May 1, 187o. Hill, while living in Bastrop, invited Mirabeau
B. Lamar to be his house guest in the fall of 1839. W. Pinckney Hill to M. B.
Lamar, September 2o, 1839, in Charles A. Gulick, Jr., and others (eds.), The Papers
of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols.; Austin, 1921-1926), III, 115. Early records
are reported to indicate that Hill was born and raised in Bastrop. C. B. Maynard
to Ben O. Hill, August 24, 1959 (copy in possession of the writer).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/. Accessed May 6, 2015.