Hancock Winfield Scott 182486

Winfield Scott Hancock (see Plate Fl) was born, one of twins, on 14 February 1824 near Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he is buried today. He was graduated towards the bottom of the West Point class of 1844, and was assigned to the infantry. He served in the Mexican War, winning a brevet for gallantry; in the Kansas War against the Seminóles; and in the Utah expedition. When the Civil War broke out he was chief quartermaster in the sleepy southern California town of Los Angeles. Returning east, he was immediately named a brigadier-general of volunteers, dating from 23 September 1861. As a brigade commander he served in the Army of the Potomac in the Peninsula campaign of April-May 1862.

It was on the Peninsula that he gained his nickname, when the army's commander telegraphed his wife with news of the day's battle, adding that "Hancock was superb". The dispatch found its way into print, and thereafter he was always "Hancock the Superb." The staff officer Frank Haskell afterwards wrote that Hancock was "the most magnificent looking General in the whole Army of the Potomac... the tallest and most shapely, and in many respects the best looking officer of them all. His hair is very light brown, straight and moist, and always looks well, his beard is of the same color, of which he wears the moustache and a tuft under the chin; complexion ruddy, features neither large nor small, but well cut, with full jaw and chin, compressed mouth, straight nose, full, deep blue eyes, and a very mobile, emotional countenance. He always dresses remarkably well, and his manner is dignified, genüemanly and commanding. I think if he were in citizen's

Hancock, commander of II Corps, stands at left center with his hand on a tree. Francis Barlow, his jacket open to show a checked shirt, leans on the same tree; while John Gibbon is the third man to the right of Hancock, hatless, leaning on his sword, and wearing a single-breasted sack coat. Cf Plate F.

clothes, and should give commands in the army to those who did not know him, he would be likely to be obeyed at once, and without any question as to his right to command."

In September 1862 Hancock took his men into the Antietam campaign, and when Maj.Gen.Israel B.Richardson was mortally wounded he succeeded him in command of the 1st Division, II Corps; he formally received the rank of major-general of volunteers 011 29 November 1862. He distinguished himself thereafter at Fredericksburg (December 1862), and after Chancellorsville (May 1863) his division covered the retreat of the Union army across the Rappahannock.

When he arrived on the field of Gettysburg 011 1 July 1863 Hancock found I and XI Corps badly beaten, and immediately took command. He drew up a defensive line based 011 Cemetery Ridge, advising the army's new commander, Meade, to light 011 this field rather than withdraw. Two days later, when the Confederates - led by such old friends of his as Lewis Armistead and Richard B.Garnett - struck his troops during Pickett's Charge, he was badly wounded when a bullet tore into his saddle, sending pieces of wood and a nail into his thigh. For a while his condition was cause for serious concern, but he recovered by the end of 1863 and was able to return to command II Corps.

Many of the senior figures in the Army of the Potomac were convinced that Hancock would succeed Meade as the army commander, but Grant retained Meade and kept Hancock as a corps commander. He led his corps in all the battles up to Petersburg in summer 1864, winning Grant's appreciation and promotion to the regular army rank of

Hancock, commander of II Corps, stands at left center with his hand on a tree. Francis Barlow, his jacket open to show a checked shirt, leans on the same tree; while John Gibbon is the third man to the right of Hancock, hatless, leaning on his sword, and wearing a single-breasted sack coat. Cf Plate F.

"Fighting Joe" Hooker - an accidental and, as it turned out, perhaps inappropriate nickname - had sandy hair and pale blue eyes. Hooker had a weakness for the ladies and his headquarters swarmed with them; as a result a certain class of women became known as "hookers", a term still in use today.

brigadier-general «11 12 August. After the war Grant wrote:

"Hancock stands the most conspicuous figure of all the general officers who did not exercise a separate command. He commanded a corps longer than any other one, and his name was never mentioned as having committed in battle a blunder for which he was responsible. He was a man of very conspicuous personal appearance. Tall, well-formed and, at the time of which 1 now write, young and fresh-looking, he presented an appearance that would attract the attention of an army as he passed. His genial disposition made him friends, and his personal courage and his presence with his command in the thickest of the light won for him the confidence of troops serving under him. No matter how hard the fight, [II Corps] always felt that their commander was looking after them."

When his Gettysburg wound reopened in November 1864 he was sent back to Washington to form a Veteran Reserve Corps, but this was only partially created. He was also given department command in February 1865, staying in that position until the end of the war. He was given command of the Department of the East in 1877, and while holding the appointment ran in the presidential election against James A.Garfield, who only narrowly beat him. Hancock died while still department commander on 9 February 1886.

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