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Hanover Junction: 1863

Hanover Junction: 1863

1863. "Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania. Passenger train at depot." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war, Gettysburg, June-July 1863. Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady or his assistant. View full size.


Beard or not to beard.

Lincoln cultivated beards off and on his entire adulthood. He was without one when he was shot, by the way.

A rare Civil War smile!

As already noted, there is a smile here you just have to see. Bless her!

Making tracks

The gauge is the same on all of the tracks at this location. Though narrow gauge was used extensively, it did not appear until 1870. There were some wide gauge lines in use and their gauge varied quite at bit from RR to RR.

Railroad construction was still in its infancy during the Civil War. Most if not all rail was imported from Great Britian during this period. Typical weight in those days was about 35 pounds per yard, pretty flimsy by today's standards.

Ties were hand hewn; flattened on two sides with an ax. Difficult work at best.

All smiles

The woman on the balcony in the light colored dress has the biggest smile I've ever seen in a photo this old.

Speaking of a beat up world ...

I think if I was on the Junction Hotel balcony, I would be more than a little worried about the obvious sag in the middle. I wonder if you could feel it sink a bit as you walked across it?

Hanover Junction Station today

Hanover Junction is about 10 miles east of Hanover.

Mr. Lincoln

Surely the recognition point for Mr. Lincoln at this period is not the hat but rather the beard. I'd have to say that this photo offers inconclusive proof if only because I can't tell if the man in the stovepipe hat has a beard or a black cravat.

A Beat-Up World

It always interests me to see how hammered and dilapidated everything looks in photos from this era. The train itself looks sharp and new, but man, those tracks! Imagine the ride. It's a wonder they didn't derail more than they did. The buildings look like they're barely holding together too. I know it's wartime and they had contstraints, but still, it's a harsh, dirty looking world. Wouldn't want to live there.

Track Gauge

Perhaps it's just the angle of the camera or distortion of the lens, but is the gauge of the track on the left the same as the gauge of the track that the passenger train is on? I believe in 1863 there were still several gauges in use even in Pennsylvania. Perhaps someone could verify based on the location of the photo.

En Route

This photo has been debated for years. Is it Lincoln in the photo, on his way to Gettysburg?

[There's another photo of the station, minus the train, that shows half a dozen gents in Lincolnesque headgear. - Dave]

Maybe, maybe not.

Another shot of the train, "purportedly showing Lincoln." In any case he does have that Lincolnesque hat.

Look closer

There is a man in a stovepipe hat just to the right of the passenger train.


Summer? There are no leaves on the trees. The Gettysburg Daily ( says the picture was taken on November 17, 1863 and shows Abraham Lincoln's train en route to the Gettysburg.

Close to home

I think Lincoln stopped here on his way to Gettysburg.

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