York Town Square

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Hanover Civil War story stop: ‘Mother Loses Two Sons to War’

This Hanover wayside marker is among such recent additions to the state’s Civil War Trails program. It observes the contributions of women in treating casualties from fighting on the streets of the town on June 30,1863 – the Battle of Hanover. (See text for that marker here.) Background posts: Signs point to York, ‘Prize of the Confederacy,’ and other York/Adams Civil War wonders and Living historians bring spotlight to York’s Civil War story and Civil War nurse: ‘Dogs of war in our midst’.

A little-known statistic about the Civil War’s Battle of Hanover is that Union and Confederate forces suffered more than 300 casualties – dead, wounded and missing.
That is the worst carnage ever sustained on York County soil.
The 300-casualty number is a stat that may fail to resonate. But how about this from a new wayside marker in Hanover? …

Mother Loses Two Sons to War – Within the span of one year, Elizabeth Hoffacker of West Manheim Township received the news of her two sons’ deaths in combat during the Civil War. John, 24 years old, was promoted to corporal after being in the army for two months. Riding though Hanover, he was shot and killed instantly upon the first encounter with the Confederates on June 30, 1863. William was mortally wounded at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 12, 1864. The bodies of both men were buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Hanover, in a lot purchased by their father.

One mother, two slain sons.
The marker was erected under a Pennsylvania’s Civil War Trails program designed to tell stories of the Battle of Gettysburg’s impact on those who lived in southcentral Pennsylvania.
The two-score story markers in southcentral Pennsylvania go beyond troop movements and concentrate instead on contributions by those often overlooked in war – women, children and freedmen.
And now, for the rest of the marker “Mother Loses Two Sons to War:”

Americans sought ways to soothe their grief over a fallen generation. Hanover residents gathered each May 30 at local burial grounds to decorate soldiers’ graves with flowers. A monument at Mt. Olivet Cemetery bears the names of Civil War veterans from Hanover and surrounding areas.

Story stops
The following is a sampling of other “story stops” in Hanover and Adams County, according to The Evening Sun in Hanover (see these descriptions and those for markers in York and Wrightsville at http://www.pacivilwartrails.com/stories/index.aspx).
Basil Biggs: Lincoln Cemetery near Long and Lincoln lanes, Gettysburg.
Battle of Hunterstown: Tate Farm on Shrivers Corner Road, 1 mile east of Route 15, Hunterstown.
Lincoln Cemetery: Long and Lincoln lanes, Gettysburg.
Destruction of private property: In front of the Guthrie Memorial Library, Carlisle Street and Library Place, Hanover.
Gen. George Armstrong Custer: Northwest quadrant of Center Square, Hanover.
Mother loses two Hoffacker sons to war: In front of 267 Frederick St., Hanover.
Battle of Hanover: Southwest quadrant of Center Square, Hanover.
Women tending to wounded: In front of the Warehime-Myers Mansion, 305 Baltimore St., Hanover.
For about 250 York Town Square posts on the Civil War in York County, click here.