Monuments to Individuals at Gettysburg


The monument to Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Armistead is south of Gettysburg, near Hancock Avenue. It is inside The Angle north of the Copse of Trees. (39.81319° N, 77.23583° W; Google map; Tour map: Hancock Avenue at The Angle)

Monument to Confederate Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead at Gettysburg

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

Confederate Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead

Confederate Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead

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 his influential family, he was appointed Second Lieutenant in 1839. During the Mexican War he was brevetted twice for gallantry and was wounded at Chapultepec.

While serving as quartermaster in Los Angeles he became good friends with John Reynolds and Winfield Hancock. With the secession of the slave states 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 made his was east to Texas, then to Virginia, where he was given a commission as a major. He quickly became colonel of the 57th Virginia Infantry Regiment in September of 1861, and 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.