Reminiscences of Winfield Scott Hancock

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Press: Digital Scanning Inc. (June 1, 1999)
Author Name:Hancock, A. R.


An 1844 graduate of West Point, he served in the infantry during the Mexican War with distinction before transferring to the quartermaster's department. 
He was ordered East for quartermaster duties but arrived to a brigadier's star.
Taking his brigade to the Peninsula, he led a critical flank attack at Williamsburg and continued to distinguish himself during the rest of the dismal campaign.
During the battle of Antietam, Israel B.
Richardson was killed and Hancock was sent to command his division in the Second Corps, thus beginning a historic association.
At Fredericksburg his division took part in the costly assaults on Marye's Heights and at Chancellorsville he skillfully covered the Union withdrawal.
Hancock stepped up to the Second Corps leadership.
With the fall of John F.
Reynolds early on the first day at Gettysburg, Mead dispatched Hancock to take over that wing of the army and decide whether the battle should be fought there or not.
This was a high honor since Oliver O.
Howard, a senior officer, was already on the field.Belatedly he received the thanks of Congress for this action.
On the second and third days of the battle, Hancock directed the Union center until wounded by a nail and by wood fragments, possibly from his saddle, were driven into his thigh by enemy fire.
After a long recovery, he returned in time for the Overland Campaign.
He fought well at the Wilderness and was brevetted Major General for crashing through the Confederate salient atSpotsylvania.
At Cold Harbor his troops were slaughtered in a futile assault ordered by Grant.
Shortly afterwards Hancock's old wound broke open and he had to leave the army for a time.Returning, he was humiliated by the defeat at Reams' Station and in November was forced to give up field.


Biographies & Memoirs,Leaders & Notable People,Military,Historical,Literature & Fiction,Literary

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Comment List (Total:4)

  •     Contains much info - written in language of the day so diff. at times but holds your interest. Worked at Hancock Place School Dist. in St L County and the Hancocks lived there while at Jefferson Barracks recovering from injuries at Gettysburg.
  •     One of the best Civil War reminiscences.
  •     Though it offers some interesting tidbits about Hancock, his wife and the author, Almira, was clearly no writer. The timelines covered and topics were very arbitrary. She wrote and published this book a year after his unexpected death as a testament to her husband for her family's friends. Half the book are just condolence messages sent to her and the army that she collected, and were largely the same.
  •     I was truly excited to find this book. Almira Hancock (wife of Gen. Hancock) wrote this book soon after the death of her husband at the request of many friends and admirers. She gives a wonderful account of her life with one of America's greatest soldiers as well as a valuable point of view of America in that time period. It is not the most complete biography ever written on Hancock though, the chapters on the Civil War and specific battles (Gettysburg for example) lack detail and attention. She actually spent more of her time concentrating on his post-war activities (Indian War, and Presidential election) as well as his pre Civil War service (other than the Mexican War, which is not even given). Information on the Mexican war or the General's formitive years are not given, because Mrs. Hancock begins the book at their marriage. Which is understandable concidering that shes wrote mostly on events at which she was present. One of the things I enjoyed the most was the letters. Mrs. Hancock added many correspondence letters, ones that the General wrote to her, those written to and from Gen. Sherman, etc. and at the back of the book, many letters that Mrs. Hancock received just after the death of Gen. Hancock, from USA Gen. Sherman, USA Gen. Sheridan, CSA Gen. Gordon, etc. Most of the information given is not available in any other source, Mrs. Hancock burned any records or letters that she did not include in this account. After reading many books on Hancock, I'd have to say that this has the most reference to his character and personality, if not through Almira's descriptions, by his own dialog. This is an enjoyable and informative first hand account of America in it's formative adolescence.

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