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."



  1. These have always been two of my absolute favorite commanders, Winfield Scott Hancock and Lewis Armistead. I had first read the story of Pickets Charge when I was perhaps 12 and became fascinated by these two commanders. Later I read The Killer Angels ad was introduced to Joshua Chamberlain who has also intrigued me but never so much as Hancock and Armistead. Though both were fine tacticians and especially regarding Hancock was somewhat brilliant, for some reason the story of Armistead’s being mortally wounded, and his anguish at knowing Hancock had also been wounded, had always struck home for me in a way unlike some of my other favorite commanders such as NB Forrest, Sherman, and Morgan.
    Oh and also, Ted Turner’s (of all people) movie “Gettysburg”, which was based upon The Killer Angels, was also done very well I thought. Except for Martin Sheen’s portrayal of Robert E Lee and a few other romanticized Hollywood liberties, the movie was very well done indeed.
    Thanks Sean and Happy Independence Day....jd

  2. As a Mason myself I can imagine the true despair that must have been in the hearts of both Hancock and Armistead at the thought that they might have to fight against each other.