Raid on Hanover Junction: No, not the Rebels!
Hanover Junction in November 1863: this may be the special train carrying Pennsylvania dignitaries to the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
In late June 1863, a few months before the politicians and newsmen posed for the above photo, Confederate Lt. Col. Elijah V. White’s six companies of Virginia and Maryland cavalrymen raided Hanover Junction. They burned the turntable, railcars, supplies, and the bridge over the Codorus. They also severed telegraph wires, drank whiskey from the Junction Hotel, and menaced some local civilians.
However, the Rebels were not the first soldiers to annoy the citizens of Hanover Junction…
In October 1862, Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart raided south-central Pennsylvania, including a quick dash toward Gettysburg. Union Maj. Gen. John Wool led a force from Baltimore into Pennsylvania to respond to Stuart’s raid. His men took the Northern Central Railway and other lines to Gettysburg, arriving on October 11 after traveling through Hanover Junction and Hanover. One member of the 128th New York later wrote, “A general and hearty welcome was given us along the way by the people of the various villages, which was expressed in their generous gifts of fruit, apple-butter, and eatables of all kinds. This expression was especially abundant at Hanover, where we made quite a lengthy stop.”
As the threat from Stuart subsided and his legions rode back across the Mason-Dixon Line, Wool’s force was withdrawn from Gettysburg.
The historian of the 128th then wrote about the force’s escapades at Hanover Junction while awaiting the train to take them to Baltimore. The terrified Hanover Junction residents headed for the hills when the train arrived carrying the Federal soldiers.
“We left Gettysburg about 10 A. M. of the 15th, to return to Baltimore. Near Hanover Junction a railroad bridge had been broken a brief time before, by the passage of a train of coal cars, in consequence of which our train was delayed. The apple orchards nearby suffered somewhat. Men and women in the homes where attempts were made to purchase provisions, were alarmed to find so many blue coats in their midst, and perhaps not knowing enough about the soldier’s garb to make the distinction, and frightened by the rumors of the advancing rebels, fled upon our approach.”