Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial at Gettysburg
Gettysburg is resplendid with monuments, depicting the units that fought there, heroes of the battle, and notable deeds. The Masonic Memorial depicts a remarkable incident that occurred at the climactic point of Picketts Charge, on the third day and final of the battle. It is a moment that epitomizes several aspects of the War Between the States; the Highwater Mark of the Confederacy, "Friend against Friend, Brother Against Brother", the sadness and irony that hallmarks that terrible conflict. - Sean Linnane
From the monument:
Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead were personal friends and members of the Masonic Fraternity.
Although they had served and fought side by side in the United States army prior to the Civil War, Armistead refused to raise his sword against his fellow Southerners and joined the Confederate Army in 1861.
Both Hancock and Armistead fought heroically in the previous twenty-seven months of the war. They were destined to meet at Gettysburg.
During Pickett's Charge, Armistead led his men gallantly, penetrating Hancock's line. Ironically, when Armistead was mortally wounded, Hancock was also wounded.
Depicted in this sculpture is Union Captain Henry Bingham, a Mason and staff assistant to General Hancock, himself wounded, rendering aid to the fallen Confederate General. Armistead is shown handing his watch and personal effects to be taken to his friend, Union General Hancock.
Hancock survived the war and died in 1886. Armistead died at Gettysburg July 5, 1863. Captain Bingham attained the rank of General and later served 32 years in the United States House of Representatives. He was known as the "Father of the House."