Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War
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Brigadier General
Lewis Addison Armistead

Commanded Armistead's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's First Army Corps, Army of Northern Virginia

 

The monument to Brigadier General Armistead is south of Gettysburg inside The Angle north of the Copse of Trees. (39.81319° N, 77.23583° W; map)

 

The granite monument is four and a half feet tall and is carved to depict an opened scroll. It was dedicated on July 12, 1887.

 

 

From the monument:

 

Brigadier General
Lewis A. Armistead, C.S.A.
fell here
July 3, 1863

 

Lewis Armistead has become one of the best known Confederate officers, thanks to The Killer Angels and the movie Gettysburg. He was born in New Bern, North Carolina, on February 18, 1817. His father and five uncles served in the War of 1812, his uncle George commanding Fort McHenry during the British attack that inspired The Star Spangled Banner.

 

The story goes that he was dismissed from West Point in 1836 for breaking a mess plate over Jubal Early's head, although he was also having serious academic problems at the time. Helped by an influential family, he was nevertheless appointed Second Lieutenant in 1839, and was brevetted twice for gallantry in Mexico, being wounded at Chapultepec.

 

While serving as quartermaster in Los Angeles he became good friends with John Reynolds and Winfield Hancock. He resigned on May 26, 1861, and in a farewell party is reported to have told Hancock "May God strike me dead" if he ever raised a hand against him in battle.

 

Armistead became colonel of the 57th Virginia Infantry, then was promoted to brigadier general in April of 1862. He served well in a number of battles, including leading the Confederate assault at Malvern Hill.

 

The image of Armistead at Gettysburg, hat on his sword as he led his brigade in Pickett's Charge, has become one of the icons of the Civil War. He and a small group of survivors crossed the stone wall that was the objective of the attack. It came to be known as the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy," but Armistead was mortally wounded in the fierce fighting.

 

The Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial at the northwest corner of the National Cemetery depicts Union Captain Henry Bingham, a fellow Mason, aiding the wounded Armistead. Armistead died two days later in a Union hospital, and is buried next to his uncle at Old St. Paul's Cemetery in Baltimore.

Lewis A. Armistead monument at GettysburgMonument to Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Armistead
at the Angle at Gettysburg
(below) Confederate Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead
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