Size: 3¼” x 3¼” x 5½”
Weight: 1.45 lbs
1863 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Monument Replicas
As the Battle of Gettysburg proceeded into the third and final day, it was General Hancock’s own Second Corps who would bear the brunt of Pickett’s Charge, an attack preceded by an intense artillery offensive. During the bombardment, General Hancock rode slowly along the lines, inspiring his men as shot and shell rained all around. As men cowered for safety, they caught sight of their commander riding along the exposed line mounted on horseback, showing his men that “their general was behind them in the storm.” When a concerned subordinate protested that he should not expose himself to such risks, he replied: “There are times when a Corps Commander’s life does not count.” The rallying impact on the troops was immediate.
After conferring with General George J. Stannard, a searing pain shot through Hancock's leg as a Confederate minié ball passed through his saddle, wounding him in the upper right thigh. Bits of wood and metal were embedded in the wound. Quick action by his staff helped fashion a makeshift tourniquet from a pistol barrel and handkerchief. As George Benedict recounted:
General Stannard stood over him as we laid him upon the ground, and opened his clothing where he indicated by a movement of his hand that he was hurt, a ragged hole, an inch or more in diameter, from which the blood was pouring profusely, was disclosed in the upper part and on the right side of his thigh. He was naturally in some alarm for his life. “Don’t let me bleed to death,” he said. “Get something around it quick.” Stannard had whipped out his handkerchief, and as I helped to pass it around General Hancock’s leg I saw that the blood, being of dark color and coming in jets, could not be from an artery, and I said, to him, “This is not arterial blood, General; you will not bleed to death.” From my use of the surgical term he took me for a surgeon and replied, with a sigh of relief: “That’s good; thank you for that Doctor.” We tightened the ligature by twisting it with the barrel of a pistol, and soon stopped the flow of blood.
Although painfully wounded, Hancock refused to be removed from the field until he knew that Pickett's Charge was repulsed. He would later say, "I was myself wounded, but was enabled to remain on the field until the action was entirely over, when I transferred the command to Brigadier-General Caldwell." The wound would never completely heal and would affect him for the remainder of his life.
General Hancock had been an inspiration for his troops throughout the three-day battle and he later received the thanks of the U.S. Congress for "... his gallant, meritorious and conspicuous share in that great and decisive victory." One military historian wrote, "No other Union general at Gettysburg dominated men by the sheer force of their presence more completely than Hancock." As another wrote, "his tactical skill had won him the quick admiration of adversaries who had come to know him as the 'Thunderbolt of the Army of the Potomac'."
The monument was dedicated on May 1, 1888 and is located on the west side of Hancock Avenue.