Civil War memorials: The Picket in downtown Hanover
Downtown Hanover, Pennsylvania, has several Civil War markers and memorials along its main streets and in the traffic square, including a series of battle-related wayside markers erected a few years ago. Perhaps the most impressive (and most well known historically) is this well crafted bronze statue entitled “The Picket.” It depicts one of Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick’s Union troopers who fought at the June 30, 1863, Battle of Hanover in southwestern York County.
For many years, this large equestrian statue was the focal point of the town square, as well as a large fountain (similar to what still graces downtown Chambersburg’s very nice traffic circle). At some point, the town fathers decided to abandon the circle and go with a more traditional crossroads intersection, and The Picket and his later companion “Mike” the bronze dog were relegated to a corner where it is out of the way (and out of the mind and vision) of most passersby.
In my research for another unrelated Civil War topic, I stumbled onto a couple of old accounts of the installation of this memorial, as well as two nearby Army of the Potomac plaques.
Here are those snippets from a pair of old books:
Note that this slightly earlier postcard does not depict the adjacent pair of cannon that were added later.
Here is the original text from the 1907 Yearbook of the Pennsylvania Society, which describes the installation of The Picket in Hanover.
“Hanover, York County.–Battle Monument. A monument commemorative of the battle of Hanover, June 30, 1863, was unveiled in Centre Square, September 28, 1905. It is a bronze equestrian statue representing a cavalry trooper in repose, but ready for instant action. It was designed by Cyrus E. Dallin, sculptor, of Boston. The cost was met by the State. The battle of Hanover was the prelude to the battle of Gettysburg, and was fought by Brig.- Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s Third Cavalry Division, Army of Northern Virginia [sic: Army of the Potomac]. Its chief importance was due to the fact that it was the means of depriving General Lee of his cavalry when he most needed it. It was the first engagement of the Civil War fought on Northern soil.”
The Picket was not the first government-sponsored Civil War memorial erected in downtown Hanover. Just a few years earlier, two markers were installed (they are now on the opposite corner from the equestrian statue. Unlike The Picket, which was paid for by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, these two were erected using Federal dollars.
Here’s another vintage account from an earlier edition of the Yearbook of the Pennsylvania Society:
“PROPOSED AND ERECTED IN 1901.
Lancaster–Colonel Emlen Franklin, commander of the I2$d Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers; unveiled May 17 in the Woodward Hill Cemetery by the Regimental Association.
Hanover–Army of the Potomac. Two bronze tablets were placed by the United States Government in Centre Square, bearing inscriptions relating to the movements of the Army of the Potomac on June 30 and July 1, 1863. They commemorate the battle of Hanover, between 6,000 Union cavalry under General Kirkpatrick and 6,000 of the Confederate cavalry under General Stuart. This conflict, which has been overshadowed by the greater battle at Gettysburg which immediately followed it, was the first battle of the civil war on free soil.”
Note that the Franklin memorial in Lancaster honored an officer who played a key role in my recent book, Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Campaign, June 1863.