Historical Markers
Hanover Junction [OLD] Historical Marker
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Hanover Junction [OLD]

Hershey/Gettysburg/Dutch Country Region


Marker Location:
PA 616, 4 miles S of New Salem at Hanover Junction

Dedication Date:
May 31, 1953

Behind the Marker

Arrival of official train at Hanover Junction. Man in top hat believed to be President Lincoln.
Arrival of official train at Hanover Junction.
President Abraham Lincoln and his party were supposed to meet Pennsylvania governor Andrew Curtin and several other northern governors at Hanover Junction. From there, they were to proceed together to Gettysburg for the dedication ceremonies. The meeting never took place, however, because the governors experienced various delays and breakdowns. They left Harrisburg at 5 p.m. but did not arrive in Gettysburg (about 30 miles away) until 11 p.m.

Image of Hanover Junction with passengers standing along the porch of the station.
Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania, 1865, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865
Lincoln might have missed the ceremonies had he not insisted on leaving a day earlier than scheduled. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had arranged for the President to depart from Washington early on the day of the event, switching tracks at Baltimore around 8 a.m., then traveling on the Northern Central line until arrival in Gettysburg at noon. It was a typically tight military schedule that did not sit well with the civilian Commander-in-Chief. "I do not like this arrangement," he wrote, obviously annoyed. "I do not wish to so go that by the slightest accident we fail entirely, and, at the best, the whole to be a mere breathless running of the gauntlet."

The President's view prevailed, not only over the War Department, but also in the face of his wife's objections. She wanted her husband to remain in Washington since their youngest son Tad was sick. Just over a year earlier, they had lost their middle son, Willie, to what was probably typhoid fever, and she was concerned Tad would take a turn for the worse in the President's absence.

On the return trip, the presidential party was held over in Hanover Junction for several hours, waiting for a connecting train back to Washington. Observers noted during the extended delay that Lincoln seemed quiet and tired. It turned out that he had developed a mild case of smallpox prior to the journey and would feel ill for weeks afterwards.

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