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Winfield Scott Hancock
(02-14-1824 - 02-14-1824)
Vice President: 1879 - 1881
President: 1881 - 1885

One of twin brothers, he was born at Montgomery Square, PA, eleven miles north of Norristown. Four years after his birth his family moved to Norristown where Hancock attended school. In 1840 he received an appointment to West Point. He graduated and received a commission as brevet Second Lieutenant, 6th Infantry, on July 1, 1844. Following two years of duty in the Indian Territory, on June 18, 1846 Hancock was promoted to Second Lieutenant. He served in Mexico during 1847- 1848, being engaged in the defense of convoy at the National Bridge, August 12, 1847; the Skirmish at Plan del Rio, August 15, 1847; the Capture of San Antonio, August 20, 1847; and Battle of Churubusco, August 20, 1847. He was breveted to 1st Lieutenant on August 20, 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco. Hancock was also engaged in Battle at Molina del Rey and the Assault and Capture of Mexico City, after which he was assigned in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, MO, 1848.

Following the Mexican War, Hancock took part in operations against the Seminoles in the Kansas War and, in the Utah Expedition against the Mormons as quartermaster under Gen. William S. Harney. He served as Quartermaster, 6th Infantry, from June 30, 1848 to October 1, 1849, and Adjutant, October 1, 1849 to November 5, 1855. During this period he was stationed at regimental headquarters at Ft. Crawford, IA, 1848-1849; St. Louis, MO, 1849-1851; and Jefferson Barracks, MO 1851-1855. Hancock was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, 6th Infantry, January 27, 1853 and Captain, Assistant Quartermaster, November 5, 1855. He continued in the frontier service until the Civil War was well underway, culminating in the position of Chief Quartermaster, Southern District of California at Los Angeles, from May 5, 1859 to August 3, 1861. Immediately upon his arrival in Washington, Gen. George B. McClellan secured Hancock's appointment as Brigadier- General of Volunteers, to rank from September 23, 1861.

Hancock served in the Defense of Washington, D. C., September, 1861 to March, 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign (Army of the Potomac), March to August, 1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, April 5 to May 4, 1862, the Battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862, Battle of Chickahominy, June 27, 1862, Action of Golding's Farm, June 28, 1862, Battle of Savage Station, June 29, 1862, Battle of White Oak Swamp, June 30, 1862, and Retreat to Harrison's Landing, July 1-4, 1862; on the Movement to Centreville, VA, August- September, 1862; in the Maryland Campaign (Army of the Potomac), September to November, 1862, being engaged in the Battle of Crampton's Pass, South Mountain, September 14, 1862, Battle of Antietam, September 17,1862, Reconnaissance from Harper's Ferry to Charlestown, VA, October 10-11, 1862, and March to Falmouth, VA, October to November, 1862. In the course of the Battle of Sharpsburg, Hancock succeeded to the command of the 1st Division of the II Corps after the mortal wounding of Gen. Israel E. Richardson. He was breveted Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, November 29, 1862.

Hancock was next in the Rappahannock Campaign (Army of the Potomac), December, 1862 to June, 1863, being engaged in the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862 and the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 2-4, 1863; in the Pennsylvania Campaign, June- July, 1863, in command of II Corps of the Army of the Potomac, being engaged in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, where he was severely wounded in the repulse of Longstreet's attack upon the left center which at the time was under Hancock's command. His employment of a skirmish line consisting of a man every three yards, which successfully resisted a series of heavy Confederate attacks, came to be regarded as a classic maneuver of defensive warfare. He was on sick leave of absence, disabled and wounded, July 4 to December 27, 1863, having suffered a wound from which he never fully recovered when a bullet carried a nail and bits of wood from the pommel of his saddle into his thigh. Congress later tendered its thanks to Hancock "for his gallant, meritorious and conspicuous share in that great and decisive victory". On November 30, 1863 he was commissioned Major, Quartermaster, U. S. Army.

Hancock served in command of, and recruiting for, II Corps, January to March, 1864; in the Richmond Campaign, commanding the II Corps of the Army of the Potomac, being engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864; Battles of Spottsylvania, May 9-20, 1864; Battle of North Anna, May 23-24, 1864; Battle of Tolopotomy, May 29- 31, 1864; Battle of Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864; and Operations in its vicinity, June 3-12, 1864; March to James River, June 12-15, 1864; and Battle before Petersburg, June 16-18, 1864. He was on sick leave due to infection of his Gettysburg wound, June 19-27, 1864; in Operations about Petersburg, in command of the II Corps, Army of the Potomac, being engaged in the Battles of Deep Bottom (in command), July 27- 29, 1864 and August 5-20, 1864; Battle of Reams's Station (in command), August 25, 1864; Battle of Boydton Plank Road (in command), October 27, 1864; and Siege of Petersburg, June 15- November 26, 1864. Both Hancock and his Corps were conspicuous in the desperate fighting which marked Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's advance on Petersburg. He was promoted to Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, August 12, 1864.

Winfield Scott Hancock
Winfield Scott Hancock

Next stationed at Washington , D. C., Hancock organized the 1st Corps of Veterans, November 27, 1864 to February 27, 1865; and was then in command of the Department of West Virginia, and temporarily of the Middle Military Division and Army of the Shenandoah, February 27 to July 18, 1865, and of the Middle Department, July 18, 1865 to August 10, 1865. He was breveted Major-General, U. S. Army, March 13, 1865 for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Spottsylvania, VA. Following the Civil War, Hancock continued in service. He was promoted to Major-General, U. S. Army, on July 26, 1866.

In 1880, General Hancock, who had received the votes of a number of delegates at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, was nominated at Cincinnati for the presidency. He ran against James A. Garfield and lost by a narrow margin. He continued in the Army until his death on February 9, 1886 while serving in command of the Military Division of the Atlantic, at Governor's Island, NY. He was buried in Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, PA. As Ezra J. Warner wrote: ". Of all the accolades which came his way, including the thanks of Congress for his services at Gettysburg, perhaps the most revealing was that of one of his staff members: 'One felt safe when near him.'"

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