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Winfield Scott Hancock


Born (a twin) at Montgomery Square, Pennsylvania. Graduate of West Point in 1844, 18th of 25 in his class. Married January 24, 1850, to Almira Russell. They had two children. He was a member of the Masons.

Hancock served in Mexico (1846) at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco and the assaults on Molino del Rey and Chapultepec. He served during the Seminole War in Florida (1855) and the Border War in Kansas.

On September 23, 1861, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and put to work organizing the Army of the Potomac. He took part in the Peninsular Campaign and Antietam. He succeeded to command of his division after the death of General Israel Richardson. He was promoted to major general of volunteers November 29, 1862. Hancock fought in the battles of Fredricksburg December 13, 1862, Chancellorsville May 1-4, 1863, and Gettysburg. At Gettysburg he served under Meade but exhibited considerable freedom of command. He selected the field of battle. On the second day, July 2, his forces repelled the Confederate attempt to turn the Union flank. On the third day, July 3, his troops held off Pickett's charge. Hancock received a wound from which he never fully recovered. He returned to duty to serve with Grant on the advance toward Petersburg. Promoted to brigadier general in the regular army August 12, 1864. Promoted to major general Regular Army July 26, 1866. Commanded Department of Dakota 1870-72; Division of the Atlantic 1872-76. After 1877 he assumed command of the Department of the East.

As a Democrat Hancock ran for President in 1880 against James Garfield. Hancock died at Governor's Island, New York.

Hancock appears on paper money:

$2 Silver Certificate, series of 1886 Congress honored Hancock with a vote of thanks (but no medal) on April 21, 1866.

bio: ApCAB; DAB; Drake; Limpert; NCAB 4; TCBDA; WAB; WWWA-H; NUM 75 Sep 1962 page 1168

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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