“[Win Hancock] was a brother to me. you remember. Toward the end of the evening… it got rough. We all began, well you know, there were a lot of tears,” Armistead’s voice wavered; he took a deep breath. “Well, I was crying and I went up to Win and I took him by the shoulder and I said, ‘Win, so help me, if I ever lift a hand against you, may God Strike me dead.’…I haven’t seen him since. I haven’t been on the same field with him, thank God. It… troubles me to think on it. Can’t leave the fight of course,“ Armistead said. ” But I think about it. I meant it as a vow you see. You Understand? I thought about sitting this one out. But…I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think that would be right either.“

- General Armistead to James Longstreet

The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, p 274-5


July 3,1863, 150 years ago today.  After the failed attempts to push the Union Army off of the high ground by attacking the two flanks on the 2nd, General Robert E. Lee orders a charge against the Union center.  James Longstreet tries to talk Lee out of the attack, telling the Confederate commanding general that such an attack across a mile long field under fire from the Union Army will most likely fail.  But Lee refuses to call off the attack.  George Pickett’s division, along with Pettigrew and Trimble are ordered forward.  The attack, which becomes known as Pickett’s Charge, results in high causalities for the Confederates.  There is not one general or colonel in Pickett’s division who is not either wounded or killed.

Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead, known by his friends as Lo, is one of the generals under Pickett.  He was close friends with the commander of the Union 2nd Corps, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock.  Up until this point, they had not faced each other across the same field, but on this day, Lo Armistead is charging right into his friends lines.  During the charge, Armistead takes his hat from his head, and puts it on his sword to guide his men to the Union position at the stone wall.  He was shot just inside the wall.  Hancock was also injured that day in Gettysburg, but unlike Armistead he would survive his wound there and survive the war.

Top:  Longstreet and Pickett
Bottom:  Armistead and Hancock

civil war generals aesthetic: Armistead & Hancock

“Hancock, goodbye; you can never know what this has cost me…” -Lo Armistead


In honor of Pickett’s Charge:  July 3rd, 1863