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Historic America

Hanover Battlefield in York County, Pennsylvania

This small skirmish in a small Pennsylvania town had big consequences on the nearby Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Hanover was fought on June 30, 1863 between Union cavalry commanded by Brig. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and Confederate cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart in the Borough of Hanover, Pennsylvania during the American Civil War. This inconclusive skirmish, part of the Gettysburg Campaign, resulted in approximately 332 total casualties. It delayed Stuart from reuniting with General Robert E. Lee’s army at Gettysburg, denying him critical intelligence during the early stages of that battle.

In June 1863, after a dramatic victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee made the fateful decision to move north with his Army of Northern Virginia and invade Pennsylvania. The Union Army of the Potomac was slow to respond, and Confederate forces met little resistance as they fanned out across southern Pennsylvania. Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, however, became trapped east of the Union army, and Stuart’s exhausted troopers fought several skirmishes to cut their way back to Lee’s army.

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Historic America

Monterey Pass Battlefield in Franklin County, Pennsylvania

Visit the scene of the Union army’s most crippling blow against Robert E. Lee’s defeated Confederates following the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Monterey Pass was fought from July 4 to 5, 1863 between Union cavalry commanded by Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick and Confederate cavalry commanded by Brig. Gens. Beverly H. Robertson and William E. “Grumble” Jones in Franklin County, Pennsylvania during the American Civil War. The battle, which immediately followed the Army of Northern Virginia’s retreat from Gettysburg, was a Union victory and resulted in approximately 1,394 total casualties, mostly captured Confederates.

After three bloody days of fighting around Gettysburg, both sides spent a rainy Independence Day licking their wounds. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee sent wagons filled with supplies and thousands of wounded soldiers southwest in preparation for retreat. That morning, wagons from Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps joined the miles-long supply train being funneled through Monterey Pass in South Mountain.

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Photography

Crowning Angel

Monument to Marcellus Edward McDowell (1837-1891), Jane Berlin McDowell Vansant (1844-1916), William J. McLaughlin (1853-1936), and Martha Banks McDowell McLaughlin (1872-1958) in Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Marcellus was a partner in Blackwell’s Durham Tobacco Company, a successor to the company that produced the famous Bull Durham Tobacco. Their advertising campaign saw Bull Durham painted on the sides of brick buildings all over the United States, many of which can still be seen today.

Marcellus Edward McDowell (1837-1891)
Categories
Historic America Photography

Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia

Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the second oldest rural cemetery in the nation. It was established in 1836 on 74 acres of land overlooking the Schuylkill River. Its lovely neoclassical gatehouse was designed in a Roman Doric style by architect John Notman (1810-1865). Laurel Hill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer (1726-1777)

Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer (1726-1777) was a Scottish-American physician who settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was a personal friend of George Washington. He fought in the French and Indian War and in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, where he was killed at the Battle of Princeton.

Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade (1815-1872)

Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade (1815-1872), nicknamed the “Old Snapping Turtle,” is most famous for commanding the Union Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg. He commanded the V Corps during the Battle of Fredericksburg and replaced Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker as commander of the army. His star faded after Gettysburg, however, as General Ulysses S. Grant personally directed operations in the Eastern Theater. He made Philadelphia his home and died of pneumonia brought on by his old war wounds.

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Photography

Released from Worldly Burden

This memorial to William Warner, Jr. (1818-1889), sculpted by Alexander Milne Calder, in Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, depicts his soul ascending from his coffin. William Warner, Jr. was the son of William and Anna Catharine Warner, who founded a Pennsylvania coal business called Warner and Company. The impressive Warner Family plot contains several statues and sculptures.

William Warner, Jr. (1818-1889)

This sculpture has been misidentified on several websites and books as belonging to William’s father.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Cochecton General Store

Cochecton General Store
Cochecton is a town Sullivan County, New York, along the Delaware River at the Pennsylvania border. It is part of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River area, which is managed by the National Park Service. Built in 1860, Reilly’s Store was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. It reopened in 2002, but has once again closed. There are less people living in Cochecton today than when the store first opened 159 years ago.
Categories
Historic America

History Enthusiasts Commemorate ‘High Water Mark’ at Gettysburg

Dozens assembled on Cemetery Ridge on Wednesday to commemorate the 156th Anniversary of “Pickett’s Charge” and the Civil War veteran events that followed.

The 4th of July, Independence Day, has special significance for all Americans, but it has duel significance for Civil War buffs. July 4, 1863 was the day after the Battle of Gettysburg and the day Vicksburg, Mississippi surrendered after a 47-day siege. Many consider this the turning point of the Civil War in the Union’s favor. The angle in a stone wall where Confederates briefly penetrated Union lines in an attack on Cemetery Ridge south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 3rd is considered the “high water mark” of the Confederacy.

The National Park Service held a series of events for the Battle of Gettysburg’s 156th anniversary this year, July 1-3. I was able to attend on July 3rd, which focused on the Confederate’s culminating attack known as “Pickett’s Charge”. Park guides gave presentations on various stages of the attack, from planning, to the cannonade, to its repulse, and a sizable crowd of approximately 50 to 60 people turned out. Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon.