Biography of Winfield S. Hancock
Famous American Biographies

WINFIELD SCOTT HANCOCK was born in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, February 14, 1824. He received. his early education at the Norristown Academy, in his native county, and, in 1840, was appointed a cadet in the United States Military Academy, at West Point. He was graduated from the latter in 1844, and brevetted as secoud lieutenant of infantry. In 1853 he was made first lieutenant, and two. years later transferred to the quartermaster's department, with the rank of captain, and in 1863 promoted to the rank of major. He served on the frontier, and in the war with Mexico, displaying conspicuous gallantry during the latter. He also took a part in the Seminole war, and in the troubles in Kansas, in 1857, and in California, at the outbreak of the Civil war, as chief quartermaster of the Southern district, he exerted a powerful influence. In 1861 he applied for active duty in the field, and was assigned to the department of Kentucky as chief quartermaster, but before entering upon that duty, was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. His subsequent history during the war was substantially that of the Army of the Potomac. He participated in the campaign, under McClellan, and led the gallant charge, which captured Fort Magruder, won the day at the battle of Williamsburg, and by services rendered at Savage's Station and other engagements, won several grades in the regular service, and was recommended by McClellan for major general of volunteers. He was a conspicuous figure at South Mountain and Antietam. He was commissioned major general of volunteers, November 29, 1862, and made commander of the First Division of the Second Corps, which he led at Fredricksburg and at Chancellorsville. He was appointed to the command of the Second Corps in June, 1863, and at the battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 2 and 3, of that year, took an important part. On his arrival on the field he found part of the forces then in retreat, but stayed the retrograde movement, checked the enemy, and on the following day commanded the left center, repulsed, on the third, the grand assault of General Lee's army, and was severely wounded. For his services on that field General Hancock received the thanks of congress. On recovering from his wound, he was detailed to go north to stimulate recruiting and fill up the diminished corps, and was the recipient of many public receptions and ovations. In March, 1864, he returned to his command, and in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania led large bodies of men successfully and conspicuously. From that on to the close of the campaign he was a prominent figure. In November, 1864, he was detailed to organize the First Veteran Reserve Corps, and at the close of hostilities was appointed to the command of the Middle Military Division. In July, 1866, he was made major general of the regular service. He was at the head of various military departments until 1872, when he was assigned to the command of the Department of the Atlantic, which post he held until his death. In 1869 he declined the nomination for governor of Pennsylvania. He was the nominee of the Democratic party for president, in 1880, and was defeated by General Garfield, who had a popülar majority of seven thousand and eighteen and an electoral majority of fifty nine. General Hancock died February 9, 1886.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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