Cannonball

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New book on the Battle of Hanover by John Krepps!

Hanover resident and Licensed Battlefield Guide John T. Krepps has spent years researching the Battle of Hanover, and the general Civil War history of southwestern York County, Pennsylvania. I ran into John a couple of years ago in the State Archives in Harrisburg when I was researching the state damage claims for York County, searching for stories about farmers and businesses raided by the Louisiana Tigers. John was researching the same files for a manuscript on the Battle of Hanover. Now, Colecraft Industries has published John’s exhaustive work.
A Strong and Sudden Onslaught: The Cavalry Action at Hanover, Pennsylvania is a wonderful book, full of well researched accounts that have rarely or never been used in any previous studies of the June 30, 1863, battle. In addition to the damage claims, Krepps makes extensive use of Hanover-area accounts, including newspapers, letters, diaries, and other accounts from local eyewitnesses. He has also scoured hundreds of soldier’s accounts and digested them in a fast-paced narrative that breaks new ground.


In particular, Krepps takes a fresh look at primary accounts that strongly suggest that there was much more fighting in along the road between Littlestown and Hanover than previously believed or documented in the most common secondary accounts of the battles. He has perhaps the most detailed account ever written of the actual fighting in and around Hanover itself, and skillfully weaves in civilian and military accounts to paint as complete a picture of the confused battle as can be done, given the scarcity of contemporary Southern reports and accounts.
Extensive footnotes, with several appendices that explore issues such as exactly where Stuart parked the controversial Union wagon train, offer guidance for the reader who wishes to dive deeper into the primary accounts. The paperback book includes several maps by David Weaver, and dozens of photographs from local and national sources. Krepps had previously studied J.E.B. Stuart’s withdraw from Hanover in an issue of Blue & Gray, and now expands this material and places it in the wider context of the Battle of Hanover.
Weaver’s period maps are supplemented by modern maps that depict today’s terrain, which has been altered by the construction of a major dam and reservoir in the 20th century by the paper company I work for. Students of the battle, therefore, can follow Stuart’s route to Hanover and his subsequent withdraw toward Jefferson and Hanover Junction.
Krepps’ new book is a very welcome addition to the historiography of both York County in the Civil War and to the Gettysburg Campaign. Priced at $14.95 retail, it checks in at 167 pages and continues Colecraft Industries’ ever growing lineup of books related to the Battle of Gettysburg in particular and the Civil War as a whole.