Major General Winfield Scott
Army of the Potomac, II Corps Commander
The Battle of Gettysburg was the highlight of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock's career. He arrived in the afternoon of the first day, and he helped establish the successful defensive battle line known as the "Fish Hook." General Hancock had command of about three-fifths of the Union forces on the third day. He was wounded, but he continued to direct operations until "Pickett's Charge" was repulsed.
General Hancock led in many other battles. He brilliantly commanded a brigade at the Battle of Williamsburg. At the Battle of Antietam, he assumed command of the 1st Division of II Corps on Bloody Lane. His division attacked Marye's Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg with disastrous results. His division provided the rearguard for the Union retreat after the Battle of Chancellorsville. II Corps fought under his command at the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. His corps was decimated in a frontal attack at Cold Harbor. He gave up command of II Corps during the Siege of Petersburg because of his old wound.
Winfield Scott and his twin brother, Hilary, were born on February 14, 1824 in Landsdale, Pennsylvania. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point at the age of sixteen. He graduated eighteenth out of a class of twenty-five in 1844. He was assigned to the infantry because of his low class standing. Later he served in the quartermaster department. During the Mexican War, he served in the army commanded by General Winfield Scott. He had been named for this military hero of the War of 1812. General Hancock was in charge of the execution of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. As commander of the Military District of Louisiana and Texas, he returned the states to civil law rule with a controversial order. Winfield Scott Hancock was the Democratic Party candidate for the presidency in 1880. He narrowly lost to James Garfield. He continued on active military duty until his death from diabetes on February 9, 1886.
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