Who Shot General Hancock?

by Fred Ray on May 2, 2020 · 1 comment

It has become somewhat of a cottage industry to try to identify who shot various prominent figures like generals Sedgwick and Reynolds. The other say I ran across this postwar newspaper article dealing with the shooting of General Winfield Hancock at Gettysburg.

The article credits Sergeant William Wood of Company H, 56th Virginia (Kemper’s brigade, I believe) for taking out Hancock. Although he didn’t kill Hancock, he did take him out of the battle, and complications from the wound eventually forced Hancock to give up command the next year.

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Theodore Savas May 3, 2020 at 10:36 am

These sorts of things are interesting, but of virtually no value. With all the lead and iron flying around, to think one man in all the smoke and confusion lifted his rifle and fired at some mounted officer–and aimed low, so it must have been the shot since Hancock was hit low–is about as likely as me winning the lottery tomorrow. And I find it hard to believe an officer would ask if any man had ammo left–they had had little chance to even fire at the Union line by the time Hancock went down. No one would have fired 40 rounds by that time on the Confederate side.

The 56th VA was in Garnett’s Brigade, not Kemper’s Brigade.

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