Residents preparing to mark 150th anniversary of Battle of Hancock

February 09, 2011|By DON AINES |

Confederate and Union forces clashed several times in Washington County during the Civil War, most notably at Antietam in 1862, but residents of Hancock are preparing for the 150th anniversary of another confrontation outside their town earlier that year.

The Battle of Hancock on Jan. 5-6, 1862, pitted one of the best known Confederate field commanders, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, against Hancock garrison commander, Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Lander.

The Battle of Hancock Committee was recently formed to plan commemorative events and encourage an invasion of tourists for the 150th anniversary in 2012.

Dr. Ralph Salvagno and student Lily Wolford discussed the project with the mayor and town council in January. They said the events could include re-enactments, lectures and activities to involve children, such as art and essay contests.

"We're still looking for someone to write a little play" about the battle, Mayor Daniel Murphy said at Wednesday night at a town council meeting.

Re-enactment groups and guest lecturers have already been contacted about participating, he said.

The Battle of Hancock could best be described as a bombardment, according to Jackson marched north into West Virginia on a mission to disrupt traffic on the B&O Railroad and C&O Canal, reaching the Potomac River on Jan. 5.

The Confederates skirmished with retreating Federals on what was then the Virginia side of the river, and Jackson's artillery fired on Hancock for two days, the website said. Lander refused to surrender the town, the Confederates failed to find a safe crossing, and Jackson withdrew to march on Romney.

Hancock received minor damage in the bombardment, casualties from the two-day encounter amounted to about two dozen, and the result was inconclusive, the website said.

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