Monday, December 14, 2009

Jeff King: Hanover, Pennsylvania

Notes on more sites in southern Pennsylvania

Was the Battle of Gettysburg lost on these historic streets?

The Battle of Hanover delayed J.E.B. Stuart’s valuable eyes and ears from aiding the Army of Northern Virginia until late on the second day of the bloodletting in Gettysburg. Some consider Stuart’s tardiness Lee’s greatest issue.

I found Hanover to be a pleasant visit, although the city's center square is always hectic. My first stop was Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 725 Baltimore St. The Soldiers Monument near the northwest corner of the cemetery labeled as "Old Section B” is a tastefully done memorial -- Rolls of Honor to all the local men who served, much like the Honor Rolls at Carlisle and McConnellsburg. There are cannon and a special arched burial area with GAR graves well marked throughout the area.

Next stop is the Women Tending Wounded storyboard at 305 Baltimore St., in front of the Warehime-Myers Mansion (formerly Pleasant Hill Hotel).

Stuart’s state marker, 446 Frederick St., is near the street that bears his name. His famous jump to escape capture is outlined by a city sign at 419½ Frederick St. near the intersection with Stuart Street.

The City of Hanover has placed historical markers at several places including the Winebrenner Tannery, 283 Frederick St. A unique story of prisoner capture, to say the least.

More I saw:
  • The Civil War Trails storyboard of a Mother Losing Two Sons,  257 Frederick St.
  • The Daniel Trone house, 233 Frederick St, tells the story of the trickeration of the local telegraph operator who eventually would send the news of Gettysburg to President Lincoln.
  • The 2nd North Carolina Cavalry charge on the Forney Farms has a city marker near the intersection of Frederick and Forney streets.
Some I missed: For the wayside markers on Frederick and Broadway, you must obtain the historical location map at the Chamber of Commerce during business hours 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. While those are extraordinarily visitor-friendly hours, it did me no good on my Sunday visit. If only more places would adopt the attitude of Beverly WV, where maps are available 24/7 outside the visitor center so no one need miss Stonewall Jackson’s sister’s home or information on the Battle of Rich Mountain. Why reinvent the wheel? Just use the best practices of the top Civil War sites -- be visitor friendly and make your information more accessible.

I will compliment Hanover Chamber of Commerce on their online map (www.hanoverchamber.com/New revised BOH brochure_web.pdf), but here again lugging around a laptop on a bright sunny day is no substitute for an easy-to-read printed map.

The Destruction of Private Property storyboard tells an accurate story of how both Union and Confederate troops were locusts stripping the communities they passed through. Jefferson’s state marker tells a similar tale. This storyboard is at 407 Carlisle near the Guthrie library where Battle of Hanover maps are also available – again during business hours.

The state marker for Lincoln’s short speech on the way to Gettysburg is at 206 Carlisle Ave.

Hanover Square at the intersection of Carlisle/Baltimore and Frederick/Broadway has several markers, signage, storyboards, artillery, historic Gettysburg Campaign iron placards, and “The Pickett,” a monument to the Battle of Hanover. Be sure and tour the entire Square. The spot where Gen. George Armstrong Custer received his promotion to General Officer is marked in the southeast corner with a star and four horseshoes.

My final stop, for a state marker about Early’s raid, was in front of Snyder’s of Hanover on State Route 116 one-half mile north of the intersection with State Route 216. The address is 1163 York St.

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