Observing Hancock at Gettysburg

The General’s Leadership through Eyewitness Accounts


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About the Book

General Winfield Scott Hancock was perhaps the most influential officer in the federal lines, though he commanded only one of seven Union corps at Gettysburg. On day one, he rallied fleeing troops and placed them in the formidable position the Union army occupied for the remainder of the battle. In a frantic few minutes on day two, he masterfully conducted reinforcements into a yawning gap in his defensive line, securing the position just moments before the Confederates advanced to try to take it. On the third day, he led the successful defense against the massive frontal assault known as Pickett’s Charge. Understanding Hancock’s pivotal actions at Gettysburg is essential to understanding the battle itself. This book covers his entire life and military career.

About the Author(s)

Paul E. Bretzger received the 1987 History Award at Stockton University for outstanding senior thesis and is an architect living and working in New York City.

Bibliographic Details

Paul E. Bretzger

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, 8 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9978-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2377-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Who Was Winfield Scott Hancock? 1
1. Prologue 7
2. Harmonious Systems 19
3. Arrival 33
4. Hancock Sets the Table 49
5. The Battle of Bliss Farm 70
6. Sickles Advances 78
7. The Third Corps Collapses 91
8. Hancock Prepares 100
9. Hancock Reacts 109
10. A Night Fight 130
11. Council of War 140
12. Morning of Uncertainty 146
13. Cannonade 154
14. “Longstreet’s Assault” 164
15. Aftermath 178
16. Lost Opportunity? 185
17. The Hancock Factor 191
18. After Gettysburg 193
19. ­Letters and Addresses 214
Chapter Notes 219
Bibliography 235
Index 239

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Distinguished Book Award—Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable
  • “This is a good book. The author weaves the many quotes together into a solid narrative”—Civil War Monitor
  • “Paul Bretzger’s book on Winfield Scott Hancock is an excellent addition to the literature on Gettysburg in general and on Hancock in particular…. The author captures the essence of Hancock by focusing on the general’s leadership qualities and performance…recommended”—Civil War News
  • “Anyone seriously interested in Gettysburg will find this work an invaluable one”—The NYMAS Review
  • “This will prove invaluable reading for anyone seriously interested in Gettysburg”—Strategy Page