Marty Hancock’s Introductory Post

by martybrvt on September 24, 2008 · 4 comments

My interest in the Civil War began in the early 60’s, when a local Philadelphia newspaper did a series of articles for the War’s 100th Anniversary. This was during my pre-high school days and I was hopelessly hooked. I remember correcting a history teacher, an Irish nun, on certain details regarding the War. She probably thought, “What woke this kid up?”

Anyway, even though I had enough sense to approach her about these mistakes after class, in private, I don’t think she ever forgave me. My report card certainly didn’t indicate that she thought I knew more than she did.

My father told me back then that our bloodlines traced back to General Hancock. I believed, as did he, that this was THE General Winfield Scott Hancock. Well into adulthood I still assumed this to be true. I never really checked into it, probably because I’d rather believe it to be true than to find out that it wasn’t.

Several years ago, on one of our first trips to Gettysburg, my wife insisted on getting our pictures taken in Civil War regalia. Hey, it was hot, we (my son Nick and I) were dog-tired from trampling around the battlefield all day, and the only thing I wanted to try on was a draft beer. But my wife persisted, as wives do, and we wound up at the studio.

As Debbie went off to a changing room, the young lady at the counter asked us whether we wanted union or confederate garb. We both replied ‘union’ as plain as day. Well, several minutes later the girl reappeared, with CONFEDERATE uniforms. Nick looked at me, I looked at him; we both smiled with a ‘Lets get it over with’ shrug and put on the grays.

Deb was upset at first, but we were already dressed and I gave her my best “you’re really trying me’ sigh, and told her how long it had taken for the girl to find the WRONG uniforms, much less sending her back again for the right ones. Deb finally agreed to take the pics the way we were already dressed. This, however, did not stop her from complaining afterward. “I still don’t know why you didn’t just tell her that she misunderstood you, and that you wanted union uniforms,” she said later that day and every time she passed the picture for the next six months.

A year or two later, at a funeral, I bumped into a cousin I hadn’t seen in some 30 years. This guy knew so much about the Civil War that HE should be writing this intro. Anyway, it turns out that we were NOT related to W.S. Hancock. We are, in fact, related to a John Milton Hancock, CSA, from Randolph County, North Carolina. John Milton Hancock was also wounded at Gettysburg, shot in the chest. He was only a Brevit General, so you won’t find any mention of him among the lists of generals. After being wounded he and many other confederate prisoners were taken to Fort Delaware, where he was held until his wound demanded further attention. He was removed to a hospital and eventually found his way back to Randolph County.

As it turns out, I’d visited Fort Delaware a few times, unaware that my ancestor had been a prisoner of war there! As far as the picture’s concerned, I guess the ghost of old John M. Hancock was not having his descendants photographed in Yankee blue.

I’m in the mortgage industry, which is just a thrill a minute these days. My son Nick is now a freshman at Wesley College, and my wife is a 7th grade math teacher. She’d like to retire soon, but did I mention I’m in the mortgage industry?

One of my other passions, aside from the Civil War, and my wife, of course, is wine. I love buying wine, drinking wine, and repeating that cycle as frequently as possible. I’m into fitness training, and I play hardball in a wooden bat league. I also avidly (some would say maniacally) follow the Phillies, the Eagles, Sixers and Big Five basketball. I read a lot of ancient military history, anything on the Celts, the Greek city states, Hannibal, Rome….

But nothing grabs me like the War Between the States. At the time of this intro I’m reading RETURN To BULL RUN, a fabulous read by John J. Hennessy, and am also enjoying the PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY of the CIVIL WAR, THE CAVALRY. The text was written in the early 1900’s by Brigadier General Theophilus Rodenbough, with contributions from officers of both sides. Crown Publishing reprinted it in 1983. I wonder if old Theo is getting any royalties?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

admin September 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I’d like to be the first to welcome you Marty! I look forward to your contributions here.



William September 25, 2008 at 2:50 am

Hi Mr. Hancock, I just wanted to say hello and welcome. I read your post and I am from Montgomery County, North Carolina, which is the county right next to Randolph and I have family from Randolph County ( On my mother’s side ). p.s. Welcome to the Southern Side…..:)



Jessica James September 25, 2008 at 7:08 am

Welcome, Marty. Looking forward to your postings!


marty hancock September 25, 2008 at 10:56 am

Thanks much for the welcome, all.

I posted on Active Rain this morning re TOCWOC and set up a link to us.



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