On June 30, 1863, the quiet little town of Hanover suddenly exploded in gunfire and bloodshed. The Battle of Hanover, fought between Confederate Cavalry led by Major General J.E.B. Stuart and Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick's Union Cavalry, lasted most of the day. Local doctors rushed to treat fallen soldiers where they lay on narrow streets and sidewalks. After the fighting ended, citizens carted the wounded to makeshift hospitals, including one in a concert hall and the other in a small armory.
The federal government opened an army hospital in a private school building on Baltimore Road a few days later. One hundred and fifty wounded soldiers from the fights at Hanover and Gettysburg recuperated in Hanover. Thousands more passed through the community on their way home or to other infirmaries. Local women served as nurses and aides, and the army surgeon in charge, Dr. P. Gardner, reported, "Every desired comfort is furnished in great abundance, and every luxury, with which this county abounds in great profusion, is supplied by sympathetic people, and administered to the suffering wounded by devoted women. A heartier response to the calls of humanity never came from a more generous people than we have witnessed here."