Wednesday, October 16, 2013

John and William Hoffacker, Casualties of War.

This is the lead-in to a multi-part posting about the casualties from both the Battle of Hanover and from the entire war that are buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. This is a sad tale of sacrifice, and unfortunately was one repeated often, and by both sides of the conflict. 

It's easy to study the fight, the lead-in to the battle, the troops involved and so forth, but there's so much more. Crops were destroyed, food and grain stores were often looted, livestock stolen, barn siding and fencing burned as campfires, and hundreds or thousands of dead and wounded men and animals left behind.

During any battle of any war, casualties become numbers, and wins and losses are often determined by the number of casualties. This to a point de-humanizes them, because every number is not just casualty. Every number was a living, breathing person with a home, families and loved ones and even a job. Every number was a person who sacrificed and paid a price; some paid the ultimate price. Most importantly every number represented a soul, put on this Earth for a reason and often taken away at a very young age.

Remember these types of stories. They put a face on the war. 

Their story on the marker reads:

Within the span of one year, Elizabeth Hoffacker of West Manheim Township received the news of her two sons' deaths in combat during the Civil War. John, 24 years old, promoted to corporal after being in the army for two months, was riding through Hanover when he was shot and killed instantly upon the first encounter with the Confederates on June 30, 1863. William was mortally wounded at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 12, 1864. The bodies of both men were buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Hanover, in a lot purchased by their father...

 ...Americans sought ways to soothe their grief over a fallen generation. Hanover residents gathered each May 30 at local burial grounds to decorate soldiers' graves with flowers. A monument at Mt. Olivet Cemetery bears the names of Civil War veterans from Hanover and surrounding areas."

John and William Hoffacker were more than just numbers on an after-action report; they were the sons of Henry and Elizabeth, and they gave all they had for the country they loved. 

This marker is slightly south-west of the Hanover square on a quiet corner of Frederick St. Many pass by it, but it's a safe bet that few even notice it or know what it is.

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