Winfield Scott Hancock 1824–1886
Born Montgomery Square, Pennsylvania
By the time the Union and Confederate armies met at Gettysburg in July 1863, Winfield Scott Hancock had served in the Peninsula Campaign with General George McClellan and ably led troops in heavy fighting at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. On the first day at Gettysburg, Hancock claimed much of the high ground for Union forces by establishing a line of defense that snaked around Culp’s and Cemetery Hills and continued to the south, along Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top. Despite repeated Confederate assaults, Hancock’s defenses held and were a deciding factor in the Union army’s victory. Often in the thick of the fight, Hancock was badly wounded during Pickett’s charge and did not return to duty for some months. He served in the Virginia campaigns of 1864—from the Battle of the Wilderness to the siege of Petersburg—until poor health forced him to give up his field command.