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Prelude to Gettysburg, 2,000 Troops Participate in 1963 Re-enactment of the Battle of Hanover

Photo from The Gazette and Daily, York, PA, issue of Monday July 1st 1963 (Source: Microfilms of the York County Heritage Trust)

In a previous post (Looking Back on the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Gettysburg; Part 1), I noted “The Official Program of A Nation United on the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg” contained this reference to other centennial commemorations in the area:

During the several days before the Centennial events at Gettysburg, several Pennsylvania communities which were involved in the 1863 Confederate invasion will conduct commemorations.  These include Columbia-Wrightsville, Hanover, Carlisle, Camp Hill, and Waynesboro.

This is the first part looking back at the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Hanover.  This photo from the July 1st 1963 issue of The Gazette and Daily is from the battle re-enactment staged in Hanover Square on the afternoon of June 30th; exactly 100 years-to-the-date after the actual battle occurred.  The Gazette and Daily caption on the photo:


Hanover’s week-long bi-centennial observance was climaxed yesterday afternoon with a re-enactment of the Battle of Hanover.  In the photo, “Confederate” and “Union” horsemen stage a brisk skirmish in Center square which opened an hour-long “running battle.”  On June 30, 1863 the famed cavalry of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart was driven from the community by Union forces under Gen. Gregg in an engagement that turned out to be a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg.


The battle re-enactment in Hanover on June 30th 1963 was staged as one of the week-long of events commemorating the 200th year anniversary of the community’s founding.  An estimated 70,000 persons attended the two-hour parade/battle re-enactment, commemorating of the Battle of Hanover.

The “running battle” part of the parade lasted for one-hour in the various parts of the streets of Hanover.  Units of the North-South Skirmish association and Sons of Union and Confederate Veterans presented the skirmish.  The other hour of the parade contained bands, floats, and antique cars.  Here is how the July 1st 1963 issue of The Gazette and Daily described the 100th Anniversary Battle of Hanover re-enactment.

An estimated 2,000 troops from “Union” and “Confederate” organizations participated yesterday afternoon in an hour-long re-enactment of the Battle of Hanover.

It opened in Central Hanover where the opposing “armies” met and continued westward on Frederick street to the Pennville area where small segments of both forces joined arms in an open field along Boundary avenue.

Occasionally, the “soldiers” became intermingled with spectators on the sidewalks and had to cease firing until they could reform into units.

Participating troops were presented commemorative certificates, patches and medals in ceremonies at Mt. Olivet cemetery, which concluded the community’s week-long bi-centennial observance.  In addition, participation streamers were issued to each unit.

Ten persons were treated at Hanover General hospital for such various reasons as heat prostration, fall from a horse, concussion of an ear drum, fragment of musket cap in the eye, musket burn, kick by horse, blistered feet and rifle butt blow.  A number of others were given first aid for heat exhaustion and minor injuries at emergency stations established throughout the borough.

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