Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Just before Gettysburg, the first Civil War battle on "northern" soil: Hanover

An anniversary of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg is approaching. However, one notes there was a significant battle in Hanover, PA on June 30, 1863, the day before fighting AT Gettysburg began.
See for example 10,000+ attended dedication of Hanover's Civil War monument about the dedication of a statue in the year 1905.

Thousands of people celebrated the dedication of the statue in late September 1905. It was one of the largest turn-of-the-century events in Hanover, and indeed in all of York County. The governor, former Civil War soldier Samuel W. Pennypacker, was on hand to deliver a few remarks. He had been a member of the 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia that had come through Hanover via train on their way to guard Gettysburg against Jubal Early's division, a task they failed to do on June 26, 1863, in inter-connected skirmishes at Marsh Creek, Rock Creek, and the Witmer Farm. The regiment contained a company of men from Hanover; many had been captured. Just four days later, their fellow Hanoverians witnessed fighting in the streets of the town and surrounding hills and fields. More than 300 soldiers fell wounded or dead in the Battle of Hanover, the largest military engagement in York County's long history. The Picket was meant to commemorate that battle for future generations.

(...) The letter carving on the tablets show the position of the different corps, when the fight at Hanover took place, on June 30, 1863, between the forces of General Kilpatrick, commanding the Third division of Pleasanton's [sic. Pleasonton's] cavalry, and General J. E. B. Stuart with three brigades of Lee's cavalry corps. Stuart had present at Hanover about 6,000 men [more likely 4,500], with Fitzhugh Lee, Wade Hampton and John R. Chambliss commanding the brigades. General George A. Custer, who was then only twenty-five years of age, commanded the Michigan brigade of Kilpatrick's cavalry. The other brigade was led by General [Elon] Farnsworth, who was killed four days later at the cavalry fight during the battle of Gettysburg."

Custer was commanding a brigade including Michigan units armed with Spencer repeating rifles, which units saw action on East Cavalry Field on July 3. Sadly, Farnsworth had a different fate on the west side of the battlefield.


Post a Comment

<< Home