Unexploded artillery shell from Battle of Hanover dug up in 1920
Here is a news article from 1920 discussing an artillery shell dating from the 1863 Battle of Hanover during the Gettysburg Campaign. Union forces under H. Judson Kilpatrick battled J.E.B. Stuart‘s Confederate cavalry in southwestern York County, Pennsylvania, at Hanover. Fighting at times swirled in the town’s major streets. The twin delays of the battles of Westminster and Hanover on June 29 and 30 significantly delayed Stuart from a planned rendezvous with Maj. Gen. Jubal Early’s division near York.
Most of the old battlefield of Hanover has long since been developed, so it’s not likely another similar shell will ever be found there, although smaller artifacts may still be in the ground (it’s all private property; don’t try looking without permission!). Handling unexploded ordnance is dangerous, and a trained professional died a few years ago in Virginia despite his years of a careful safety record. The most common relic still being found on old Civil War campsites and battlefields is of course bullets (dropped or fired), with shell fragments and pieces of accouterments also occasionally found.
By the way, I am looking for oral traditions and oral history from York Countians about their ancestors during the Civil War. What did the 19th century residents experience? What stories did they leave behind for future generations? Several folks have contacted me with things their grandparents remembered their own grandparents stating or telling about the war years. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com if you have anything to share. My goal is to compile as much of these stories as possible before they are lost to future generations.