Wayne Post
  • Historically Speaking — A peek at Palmyra’s past

  • Palmyra and vicinity’s history is full of ups and downs twists and turns and amazing happenings.

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  • Palmyra and vicinity’s history is full of ups and downs twists and turns and amazing happenings. On June 4, 1870 the Great European Circus, largest in the world, visited Palmyra, probably at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. The Palmyra Masonic Lodge NO. 248 dedicates its new hall on June 5, 1870 in the Cuyler Block on the third floor above where Latter-day Harvest is today. On June 6, 1964 the final day of the Palmyra 175th Anniversary celebration was held. The Boys’, Deci’s, John’s, Wilson’s, Larssen’s, Pritties’ Corser’s, Mrs. Agnes Griffith, and so many others attended this event. On June 7, 1898 the Volunteer Company was formed for the Spanish American War where our great Admiral Wm. T. Sampson shone as a hero. On May 30, 1903 the Sampson Cannon in the Village Park was officially dedicated in our honor of this great naval hero.  While June’s at home seemed fun and happy we go back to the front.
    Back to June 1862 soldiers on their way to Williamsburg, VA as Hancock’s orders continued to come pull back, no reinforcements coming. Even Smith’s troops had started for the front and were told to retreat. Falling back was not an option so Hancock and his officers held fast and knowing this could change the course of this battle. Hancock finally relented to Sumner’s orders ordering his men to stop firing. Capt. Long Chief of Staff for the 3d Brigade rode to Col. Corning’s position. Corning asked why Hancock stopped firing. Capt. Long replied “by orders from the other side”, referring to headquarters. Corning was disgusted and seeing the grave problems of this move, listened to Long explain that a brigade was lost and two batteries. Col. Corning looked at him in dismay and said, “Well that may be West Point generalship but by, God it is not common sense.” Corning now sees something that concerns him, he wrote, “I ran out and called Capt. Long. Come here! I got him up on the gun table and pointed to the Fort which our Batteries had before been firing at and exclaimed there! There! Is your other side generalship; they are drawing the guns from that Fort down to increase the number again on Hooker and Kearney. Then Long seeing the circumstances exclaimed, “My God! So they are”.
    Corning searched for Hancock to ask him if he had seen the threat to the Union on the left. He found a disparaged Hancock sitting as a staff officer was trying to convince the General to allow him to seek reinforcements while Hancock waited through the night. “It would be the height of folly for me to remain here all night unless I am reinforced.” Corning realizing that the order to fallback had been given to Hancock and he walked back to his redoubt in disgust. Without warning there was a borage of musket fire coming from two locations in the woods. Corning, “I knew it meant us”. Corning readied his men as he said, “I ordered the men to take the caps from their guns, and see that the cones were dry and clear, that every gun should go at the first fire.” He cautioned them the ball will open soon, keep cool and steady, as I am going to wait until they are…near, that with steady deliberate fire, ought to drop 70 of them.”
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