LOUIS ADDISON ARMISTEAD, CSA - History

LOUIS ADDISON ARMISTEAD, CSA - History


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GENERAL LOUIS ADDISON ARMISTEAD, CSA
VITAL STATISTICS
BORN: 1817 in New Berne, NC.
DIED: 1863 in Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg.
CAMPAIGNS: Seven Pines, Pickett's Charge, Gettysburg and Cemetery Ridge.
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Brigadier General.
BIOGRAPHY
Lewis Addison Armistead was born on February 18, 1817, in New Berne, North Carolina. The son of a high-ranking U.S. Army officer, Armistead entered West Point in 1834. In 1836, he was dismissed for breaking a plate over the head of cadet Jubal A. Early, who later became a Confederate general. Entering the army in 1839 as a lieutenant in the 6th U.S. Infantry, he was brevetted three times for bravery in the Seminole War. Although he held that "obedience to duty" was "the first qualification of a soldier", and was a strict disciplinarian, Armistead was known as a friendly man with a casual manner. He resigned from the army to join the Confederate forces in 1861. Armistead was a widower with a son, who later served as his father's aide, and was older than most of his colleagues. After a time as colonel of the 57th Virginia Infantry, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on April 1, 1862. Armistead distinguished himself at Seven Pines, where he first took his brigade into action. He was mortally wounded in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg after shouting, "Give them the cold steel." He died on July 5, 1863, in a Federal field hospital, and was buried by friends in St. Paul's Cemetary in Baltimore, Maryland. He was burried next to his uncle Lt Col George Armistead who was the commander of Ft McHenry when it was bombarded during the War of 1812.

Early life [ edit | edit source ]

Armistead, known to friends as "Lo" (for Lothario, which was an ironic joke because he was a shy man and a widower, not a ladies' man), was born in the home of his great-grandfather, John Wright Stanly, in New Bern, North Carolina, son of Walker Keith Armistead and Elizabeth Stanly Armistead. Armistead's grandfather, John Stanly, was a U.S. Congressman and his uncle Edward Stanly served as military governor of eastern North Carolina during the Civil War. Walker Armistead and his five brothers served during the War of 1812 and one of them, Major George Armistead, was the commander of Fort McHenry during the British attack that inspired the words to the Star Spangled Banner. Lewis attended the United States Military Academy, but resigned following an incident in which he broke a plate over the head of fellow cadet Jubal Early. Ώ] He was also having academic difficulties, however, particularly in French (a subject of difficulty for many West Point cadets of that era), and some historians cite academic failure as his true reason for leaving the academy. ΐ]

His influential father managed to obtain for his son a second lieutenant's commission in the 6th U.S. Infantry on July 10, 1839, at roughly the time his classmates graduated. He was promoted to first lieutenant on March 30, 1844. Armistead's first marriage was to Cecelia Lee Love, a distant cousin of Robert E. Lee, in 1844. They had two children: Walker Keith Armistead and Flora Lee Armistead. Armistead then served in Fort Towson, Arkansas, Fort Washita near the Oklahoma border. Serving in the Mexican-American War, he was appointed brevet captain for Contreras and Churubusco, wounded at Chapultepec, and was appointed a brevet major for Molino del Rey and Chapultepec.

Armistead continued in the Army after the Mexican War, assigned in 1849 to recruiting duty in Kentucky, where he was diagnosed with a severe case of erysipelas, but he later recovered. In April 1850, the Armistead's lost their little girl, Flora Lee, at Jefferson Barracks. Armistead was posted to Fort Dodge, but in the winter he had to take his wife Cecelia to Mobile, Alabama, where she died December 12, 1850, from an unknown cause. He returned to Fort Dodge. In 1852 the Armistead family home in Virginia burned, destroying nearly everything. Armistead took leave in October 1852 to go home and help his family. While on leave Armistead married his second wife, the widow Cornelia Taliaferro Jamison, in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 17, 1853. They both went west when Armistead returned to duty shortly thereafter.

The new Armistead family traveled from post to post in Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. The couple had one child, Lewis B. Armistead, who died on December 6, 1854, and was also buried at Jefferson Barracks next to Flora Lee Armistead. He was promoted to captain on March 3, 1855. Α] His second wife died on August 2, 1855, at Fort Riley, Kansas, during a cholera epidemic. Β] Γ]

Between 1855 and 1858 Armistead served at posts on the Smokey Hill River in Kansas Territory, Bent's Fort, Pole Creek, Laramie River, and Republican Fork of the Kansas River in Nebraska Territory. In 1858, his 6th Infantry Regiment was sent as part of the reinforcements sent to Utah in the aftermath of the Utah War. Not being required there, they were sent to California with the intention of sending them on to Washington Territory. However, a Mohave attack on civilians on the Beale Wagon Road diverted his regiment to the southern deserts along the Colorado River to participate in the The Mojave Expedition of 1858-59.

Lt. Colonel William Hoffman, at the head of a column of six companies of infantry, two of dragoons, and some artillery, struggled up the Colorado River from Fort Yuma. On April 23, 1859, Colonel Hoffman dictated a peace to the overawed Mohave chiefs, threatening annihilation to the tribe if they did not cease hostilities, make no opposition to the establishment of posts and roads through their country, and allow travel free from their harassment. Hoffman also took some of their leading men or family members hostage. Afterward he left for San Bernardino, taking most of his force with him others went down river by steamboat or overland to Fort Tejon.

Captain Armistead was left with two infantry companies and the column's artillery to garrison Hoffman's encampment at Beale's Crossing on the east bank of the Colorado River, Camp Colorado. Armistead renamed the post Fort Mojave. In late June 1859 the Mohave hostages escaped from Fort Yuma. Trouble broke out with the Mohave a few weeks later when they stole stock from a mail station that had been established two miles south of Fort Mojave, and attacked it. Mohaves tore up melons planted by the soldiers near the fort, and the soldiers shot a Mohave who was working in a garden. Eventually after a few weeks of aggressive patrolling and skirmishes, Armistead was able to fight the Mohave in a battle between about 50 soldiers and 200 Mohave, resulting in three soldiers wounded. Twenty-three Mohave bodies were found but more were killed and wounded and removed by the Mohave. Following this defeat, the Mohave made a peace , which they kept from then on. Δ]


Armistead, Lewis Addison

Lewis Addison Armistead, Confederate general, was born in New Bern, while his mother, Elizabeth Stanly, wife of army officer Walter Keith Armistead, was visiting her parents, former Congressman John Stanly (1775–1833), son of John Wright Stanly, and Elizabeth Frank Stanly, daughter of Martin Frank (Franck) of Jones County.

The Armisteads had been in America since William Armistead came from Yorkshire, England, about 1735, to Virginia. William's grandson Henry resided in Gloucester County and married Martha Burwell. Their grandson John and his wife, Mary Baylor, were the parents of the "Military Armisteads."

Walter Keith Armistead (1785–1845), youngest son of John and Mary Armistead, was in military service, as were his four brothers. A member of the second graduating class at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, he took part in the War of 1812 and the Seminole War, became the army's chief engineer, and at the time of his death, with the rank of brevet brigadier general, was second in command of the army. One of Walter's brothers, Major George A. Armistead (1780–1818), was known as "the hero of Fort McHenry." He commanded the fort in September 1814, when, during its bombardment by the British Fleet, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," designated by Congress in 1931 as the national anthem. After the battle, Major Armistead was breveted to lieutenant colonel, retroactive to 12 Sept. 1814.

Lewis Armistead, desiring to follow his father and uncles in an army career, was admitted 1 Sept. 1834 to the military academy. An untoward incident prevented his completing its courses. Another cadet, Jubal A. Early, later "a fire-eating soldier" for the Confederacy, is reported to have "insulted" him on the parade ground. At mess, in retaliation, Armistead cracked Early over the head with a plate and was, as a result, dismissed 15 Feb. 1836.

Still determined to carry on the family profession, he was graduated from a military school in North Carolina and on 10 July 1839 became a second lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment, U.S. Infantry, commanded by Zachary Taylor. He fought against the Seminoles under General Taylor and also under his father, and in 1844 he was promoted to first lieutenant.

During the Mexican War he led the storming party at Chapultepec, participated in other battles, and won a reputation for bravery and aggressive fighting. After the war he served fourteen years on the western frontier. In 1855 he was breveted captain and then promoted to major.

In the summer of 1860 he told a disconsolate friend, "I know but one country and one flag. Let me sing you a song and drive away your gloom." He sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." However, when the necessity for choice came, he did not hesitate to prefer the Confederacy. At Los Angeles he presented his major's uniform to a friend, Winfield Scott Hancock, then a captain and brevet major, with the remark, "Some day you may need this." They met later at Gettysburg.

Resigning from the U.S. Army on 26 May 1861, Armistead joined General Albert Sidney Johnston and other officers who had resigned and journeyed with them across the continent from Vallecito to San Antonio, New Orleans, and Richmond. He entered Confederate service as a colonel at Richmond. On 1 Apr. 1862 he was commissioned brigadier general.

Displaying conspicuous gallantry, bravery, and coolness under fire at Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, Second Manassas, and Sharpsburg, he was appointed provost marshal of the Confederate army. General Robert E. Lee personally thanked him for the ability and efficiency with which he discharged the duties of that position.

On 3 July 1863, the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the guiding point for the Confederate charge was a clump of trees just beyond a low stone wall. Putting his hat on the point of his sword, Armistead mounted his horse and called in stentorian tones for the men of his brigade to follow him through a rain of shot and shell toward the Union position on Cemetery Hill. General George E. Pickett, who directed the charge from a nearby house, was not present to lead his division. Two other generals were put out of action. Armistead automatically assumed leadership. His horse was shot from under him, but he dashed forward on foot and was the first to leap over the stone wall. Some thirty-odd yards beyond the wall, he laid his hand on a cannon, with the proud announcement, "This cannon is mine." But he was then riddled with bullets and fell, mortally wounded. Within a few minutes he died, at the "high-water mark" of the Confederacy.

His body was buried in a vault in St. Paul's cemetery at Baltimore, Md. A memorial plaque was dedicated there in recent years by the General Lewis Addison Armistead Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, of Washington, D.C.

General Armistead was married to Cecelia Lee Love, daughter of Richard H. Love of Fairfax County, Va they had one son, Walker Keith, who married the granddaughter of Daniel Webster.

Lewis Addison Armistead did not die immediately at Gettysburg as indicated. More recent research and sources indicate that he was taken from the battlefield to a Union field hospital where it was determined that his wounds were not life-threatening, although he was badly wounded. Despite this, he died two days after the battle from what may have been infection and exhaustion.

--Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina

G. S. Carraway, The Stanly Family (1969).

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, series 1, vols. 6, 9–12, 18, 19, 21, 27, 29, 30, 33, 36, 50, 51 (1881–97).

William and Mary Quarterly 6 (Jan. 1898).

Additional Resources:

Hess, Earl J. Pickett's Charge: The Last Attack at Gettysburg. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Motts, Wayne E. "Trust in God and Fear Nothing": Gen. Lewis A. Armistead, CSA. Gettysburg, Pa.: Farnsworth House Military Impressions, 1994.


Armistead, Lewis Addison , BGEN

This Military Service Page was created/owned by SFC Steven Nimocks (Roscoe) to remember Armistead, Lewis Addison (Lo Lothario), BGEN.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.

Home Town
New Bern
Last Address
New Bern, North Carolina
Casualty Date
Jul 05, 1863
Cause
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Pennsylvania
Conflict
Civil War/Gettysburg Campaign (1863)/Battle of Gettysburg/Cemetery Hill 2 July 1863
Location of Interment
Old Saint Pauls Cemetery - Baltimore, Maryland
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

From Month/Year
April / 1861 To Month/Year
April / 1867
Description
The American Civil War was an internal conflict fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America. The Union won the war, which remains the bloodiest in U.S. history.

Among the 34 U.S. states in February 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the U.S. to form the Confederate States of America. War broke out in April 1861 when Confederates attacked the U.S. fortress of Fort Sumter. The Confederacy grew to include eleven states it claimed two more states, the Indian Territory, and the southern portions of the western territories of Arizona and New Mexico (called Confederate Arizona). The Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by the United States government nor by any foreign country. The states that remained loyal, including border states where slavery was legal, were known as the Union or the North. The war ended with the surrender of all the Confederate armies and the dissolution of the Confederate government in the spring of 1865.

The war had its origin in the factious issue of slavery, especially the extension of slavery into the western territories. Four years of intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers dead, a higher number than the number of American military deaths in World War I and World War II combined, and much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed. The Confederacy collapsed and 4 million slaves were freed (most of them by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation). The Reconstruction Era (1863&ndash1877) overlapped and followed the war, with the process of restoring national unity, strengthening the national government, and granting civil rights to freed slaves throughout the country.

People You Remember
CSA BG Armistead Killed at Pickett's Charge


Freemasonry and the civil war - a house undivided

"My father had been a soldier in the Union Army. . .He was made a Mason in a military Lodge. . .Taken prisoner at Arkansas Post, he was carried up the Mississippi River to Rock Island, Illinois. . .My father became. . . desperately ill, and made himself known as a Mason to an officer of the camp. The officer took him to his own home and nursed him back to life. When the war ended, he loaned Father money to pay his way back to his Texas home, and gave him a pearl-handled pistol to protect himself. . .This experience of my father, when I learned about it, had a very great influence upon my life. . . the fact that such a fraternity of men could exist, mitigating the harshness of war, and remain unbroken when states and churches were torn in two, became a wonder and it is not strange that I tried for years to repay my debt to it."
-- Joseph Fort Newton, D.D. in River of Years - [1]

All the organizations, that is, except one: Freemasonry. While the War raged around them, Freemasons held on to the ties and the idealism that brought them together in the first place. Thousands of Masons fought in the War, and many died. But the tenets of the Craft, those ideals and moral codes that we, as Freemasons, [2] strive to abide by, were able to overcome the hatred and the animosity that the War generated.

There are a number of reasons why this organization, more than any other, was able to survive the tumult that was the Civil War. A major reason is the long and storied history of the Craft. The beliefs and tenets of the Lodge predate not only the Civil War, but the Constitution, the discovery of the New World, and, according to some, even the birth of Christ. When a tradition of that many years exists, it is difficult to ignore.

A second reason why Masonry held together is that membership in a Masonic Lodge is by choice only. No man has ever been recruited into joining a Lodge. Our rules in fact prohibit Masons from actively pursuing someone for initiation. Instead, a man interested in becoming a Mason must, "of his own free will and accord," [3] actively seek out a member of the Lodge which he wishes to join and ask him for a petition for membership.

The third reason is the structure of the Craft itself. There are a number of internal rules and customs that helped the Lodge as a whole avoid the turbulent politics and divisiveness of the War. This allowed the Lodge to continue to function as a place a man could go when he needed help, or a quiet haven from the storms that raged outside the Craft. It was then, and continues to be today, a place where true brotherhood exists.

Perhaps the best example of these ties of brotherhood occurred on the battlefield at Gettysburg. [4] This battle, the turning point of the War, saw 93,000 Federal troops doing battle with 71,000 Confederates. Of those numbers, more than 35,000 were killed or wounded in the three days of fighting from 1 July to 3 July, 1863. Of the men who fought, 17,930 were Freemasons, including the roughly 5,600 who became casualties. [5]

One of the most famous events that occurred at Gettysburg was the huge Confederate infantry push known as Pickett's Charge. On 3 July, Pickett (a member of Dove Lodge #51, Richmond, Va) led nearly 12,000 men on a long rush across open fields towards the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. It has been called the last and greatest infantry charge in military history.

One of the men leading that charge was Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead, CSA. He was a member of Alexandria-Washington Masonic Lodge #22 in Alexandria. Originally from North Carolina, he had attended West Point, and fought with the US Army for a number of years before resigning his commission to fight for the Confederacy. During that time, he had occasion to serve with now Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, USA (Charity Lodge #190, Norristown, Pa.) while both men were in the west. The two had become good friends. However, with Armistead's resignation, it had been nearly two and a half years since the two men had had any contact. Until Gettysburg, that is.

It was Hancock who had taken command of the fragmented Union troops on Cemetery Ridge on 1 July, and organized them into a strong front that hadwithstood three days of pounding from the Confederate guns. And it was his position, in the center of the Union line, that was the focus of Pickett's Charge. During the action, both men were wounded. Armistead was shot from his horse, mortally wounded. Hancock's saddle took a hit, driving nails and pieces of wood into his thigh.

As the battle waned, it became clear that Armistead's injuries were fatal. Knowing that his old friend was somewhere behind the Union lines, Armistead exhibited the Masonic sign of distress. [6] This was seen by Captain Henry Harrison Bingham, the Judge-Advocate of Hancock's Second Corps (Chartiers Lodge #297, Canonsburg, Pa.). He came to the fallen Armistead, and declared that he was a fellow Mason.

The two men spoke for a time, and when Armistead realized that Bingham had direct access to Hancock, he entrusted some of his personal effects to him. Among them were his Masonic watch, the Bible upon which he had taken his obligations, [7] and a number of other items. Bingham said his farewells, and then returned to the Union camp to deliver the items. Armistead died two days later.

The fact that Armistead chose to use the Masonic sign of distress signified that his war was over, and that there was another, more pressing matter on his mind, even on the field at Gettysburg. What could lead one of the highest ranking and most intelligent officers in the Confederacy to lay aside all of the ideology of the war and call for a brother of the Craft from the other side? It is this question which I will now address.

During the war, and in the years just prior to it, the questions of secession, slavery, and states' rights were as much on the minds of Masons in this country as anyone. There was almost no way of escaping the thoughts of imminent warfare between the states. The following is taken from a letter, drafted in June of 1861, from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, sent in response to a communication received from the Grand Lodge of Tennessee decrying the situation that the country was in.

"As to the present deplorable state of this country, Masons cannot fail to have opinions as to the cause that produced it. It is to be feared that some of our brethren are in arms against the union of the States others are in the ranks of its defenders. Taught by the history of he Order. . .they have carried these principles into the formation of opinions on the present crisis in our national history. But while Masons, as individuals, have been thus influenced and are acting in harmony with such views, Freemasonry is a silent, unimpassioned, abstracted observer of events. . . "Brethren -- We, with you, deplore the present unnatural and deeply distressing condition of our national affairs. . .But if this whirlwind threatens to overwhelm us, yet in this last extremity, the still small voice of Masonic faith will be uttered and heard, saying, Brethren, there is help at hand in this time of need.

"'Surely your God is our God your faith our faith your landmarks our landmarks your joy our joy your prosperity our satisfaction.' Then let us unitedly work together for the preservation and perpetuity of a common inheritance. . .[W]e will aid in maintaining unity, peace and concord, among the brethren and citizens of united sovereign States in our glorious Union. If all bonds should be broken, all ties rent asunder if discord, dissension, and disruption, shall mark the decline and fall of the most wise and wonderful of the governments of mankind, let the Masonic temple, in all States, kingdoms, lands, peoples or confederacies, be common refuge of an indestructible Masonic fraternity." [8]

These sentiments were echoed by virtually all of the other Grand Lodges at one point or another during this time period. Nobody wanted war. Negotiation was the overwhelmingly favored option. However, if war occurred, everyone hoped and believed that the Fraternity would be able to survive the conflict. But why? What was so special about Masonry that set it apart from other organizations similar to it?

The first reason is history of the Order. No other organization has the amount and the type of history that Freemasonry does. To truly understand the organization that exists today, it is imperative to examine and understand the history of the Craft.

There is no clear answer as to where the historical roots of Freemasonry lay. The first school of thought traces the Craft from the building of King Solomon's Temple in roughly the 10th century, B.C. At this point, before the advent of metal working tools, the construction of stone buildings required the work and planning of master architects. They had only stone and mortar to work with, and yet their plans were so well-designed as to stand for centuries.

There were relatively few masters, and the secrets of the trade were among the best-kept in the world. Masters knew that the demand for their expertise was overwhelming, and they guarded their knowledge well. Only a select few were elevated to the rank of master, and the process was a long and arduous one. A young man was first apprenticed to an established master, often for a period of several years. The apprentice learned the trade from that master, then set out on his own to practice his trade. Eventually, a few of these craftsmen were elevated to the rank of master, but only after years of labor. This pattern is repeated through many different eras in history, no matter what the craft being learned.

The master architect involved in the construction of King Solomon's Temple was a man named Hiram Abif. He was murdered by a trio of men who aspired to be made masters of the craft. The story of his murder forms the basis for the Master Mason degree in modern Freemasonry. Abif would not relinquish the secrets of the master, and sacrificed his life to protect the sanctity of that honor. These and other ideals are explained in the Master Mason degree, impressing upon the new Brother the extent to which others have gone to uphold the fraternity. [9]

The second line of thought traces the Craft's development from the guilds of the middle ages. This follows closely the ideals of the other school. Guilds of stonecutters were formed to protect the secrets of the actual profession of stonecutting. This was known as "operative Masonry." The first documented instance of a Masonic Lodge in England occurs in 926 A.D. These guildsmen could actually lay stone and build buildings. A person who was engaged in this profession was virtually forced to become a member of the guilds in order to secure work. It closely parallels the development of the "closed shop" labor unions in this country. Those who were not members could not find work.

As time went on, these guilds gained considerable power and influence. They began to develop allegorical meanings for the tools and terminology of the profession. They also developed secret signs, words, and modes of recognition so that one Mason could recognize another, no matter where they went. These insured that only those who were eligible could sit in on the meetings of the guilds. This allowed the mason to travel to other parts of the world, and still be recognized as a master stonecutter. This led to the coining of the term "Free & Accepted Mason," shortened to "Freemason." The mason, as a member of one of the guilds, was free to travel where he wanted and continue to earn a living as a stonecutter.

In the 17th century, when cathedral building was on the decline, some of the individual Lodges began to admit members who were not actual masons. These included civil and religious leaders, government officials, and other dignitaries. These dignitaries realized the power and influence of the Lodges, and gained membership to have a say in that power. Hence, a new type of organization developed. No longer were these guilds of operative masons. Here we see the development of what is know today as "speculative Masonry." Speculative Masonry kept the allegories and the secrets that the operative Masonic guilds used, but merely expanded the rolls of membership to include those who were not employed in the profession.

With a history as long and storied as this, it is little wonder that the ties that bond a man to all of his Masonic brethren are not taken lightly. They are solemn vows, taken in the presence of God and the members of his Lodge. This set of traditions, stretching back over many centuries, is not easily disregarded in favor of such fickle and transient notions as politics. Tradition, however, was not the only reason that the Craft remained together.

A second important reason why Masonry stood apart from other organizations is the way in which a man becomes a Mason. Freemasonry is unique in that we do not recruit new members. In order to gain admittance to a Lodge, a man must come to either the Lodge as a whole, or to an individual member of the Lodge, and request of them a petition for membership. The process itself is controlled by the Lodge after that point, but the important thing to remember is that the prospective member must make the initial query.

This tradition has drawn some criticism in the last few years, as membership has started to decline. Up until roughly the 1960's, membership in virtually all fraternal organizations was incredibly high. This included Freemasonry and all of its appendant bodies, Greek fraternities and sororities on college campuses, and other organizations such as the VFW, the Elks, Moose, Eagles, etc. After the 1960's, however, membership in all of these began to decline, and did so for nearly a generation. It has only recently began to level off, and in some cases, began to rise again. Many of the Grand Lodges, which are the governing bodies in Masonry, have relaxed regulations about discussing membership with prospective members. The rule has remained in place, however.

This is an important distinction for several reasons. First of all, there is a major difference between a group that you choose to join and one that you are coerced into joining. Often, in the other organizations, men were almost forced into becoming members. Perhaps they had a relative, a father or uncle, who was a member, and the younger man was naturally expected to join.

Certainly, this happens in Masonry to some extent, but there is still the element of choice. Throughout the ceremonies of initiation to the various degrees of the Masonic Lodge, the new Brother is repeatedly asked if this choice, to become a Mason, is "of his own free will and accord." This same question is asked no fewer than three times in each degree. [10] There is ample opportunity for a man to voice his objection if he feels he is being forced or coerced into joining.

Another difference is the one between a group a person chooses to join and one that he or she is born into. This is perhaps the most important difference in this context. When a person is born into a society, or a group, or a religion, he or she does not have this element of choice involved. This is one of the reasons that many of these other organizations did not hold together when the war came. A number of the people in the organization decided that they did not want to be in the organization anymore, and as they had never asked to be there, they felt that they were entitled to leave.

The best example of this is the political division between North and South. One of the reasons that some of the secessionists gave for wanting to leave the Union was that they did not have the same loyalty to the Union and the Constitution that the original founding fathers did. Those individuals made the choice to form this new national government, and to abide by the rules and the regulations thereof.

During the time of the Civil War, however, there was a serious question of what bound the new generation of Americans to the federal Constitution. There was a good deal more significance paid to the individual state identities. People would identify themselves as a Virginian first, and then as an American. This question of dual citizenship would plague this country until the question was settled through the bloodshed of civil war.

This concept was what allowed secessionists to declare that they had a more compelling allegiance to the state than to the nation. While this idea may seem strange to modern Americans, to our mid-19th century forefathers, it was perhaps foremost in their minds. For all the talk of slavery being the major cause of the war, the fact remains that the actual debate started over the question of states' rights. Overly simplified, the South was not fighting to preserve slavery, but rather to enforce states' rights. By the same token, the North did not go to war to end slavery, but to preserve the political and economic union.

The secessionists did not feel the same degree of loyalty to the Union, because they had not made a conscious decision to join that group. They felt powerless and on the outside of the political process. This led to a great deal of resentment towards the national government from the Southerners. They were inside a political system that they could not change, and when they tried to escape, a war was waged to keep them in.

On the other hand, the process for becoming a Mason was much different. With this element of choice being so heavily prevalent, each man in the organization was able to feel that he really belonged, that Freemasonry was a place in which he had some say over the government of the organization.

The government of Freemasonry and the way the organization is set up is the third reason that it was able to hold together. Every member in good standing had an equal vote in the affairs of the Lodge. [11] The whole process is very egalitarian. When a Lodge meets, it meets "on the level," meaning that no member is any higher than any other. The newest Brother has the same voice and the same voting power that the oldest does. The Master of the Lodge, who presides over the affairs of the body, is not a supreme dictator. Rather, he rules only by the consent of the members. In elections and other affairs requiring votes, his counts no more than any other.

Another advantage built into the structure of Masonry are the taboos that exist within the Lodge. While it is true that the Lodge is designed to be an open forum for members to express their opinions and to debate matters of importance, there are certain subjects which, as a rule, are not discussed.

By tradition, the only two taboo subjects are Religion and Politics. Our Masonic forefathers deemed them too divisive and the discussion of them as too temperamental and banned them from the Lodge. One of the purposes of the Lodge is to provide a safe haven for rational and intellectual debate. It also tries to encourage a state of harmony within the Lodge itself. To ensure this harmony, these two issues were banned. Our forefathers were well aware that there had never been a conflict that could not be traced to one of these two forces. So by not discussing them, they hoped to provide for this harmonious state that existed within the Lodge.

This stipulation helped to keep peace within the organization. The firebrands and masters of rhetoric that so infected governments and towns found no refuge within the Masonic fraternity. Levelheadedness and reason more often than not were able to prevail upon the leadership of the fraternity. That is what could lead the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to declare that "Freemasonry is a silent, unimpassioned, abstracted observer of events." [12]

The very structure of the Grand Lodge system lends itself to the preservation of the Craft through national crises. The Grand Lodge is the governing body of Masons in any particular jurisdiction. It is made up of representatives from the various Lodges within that jurisdiction. However, the point to remember is that the Grand Lodge of one jurisdiction owes no allegiance to that of any other. Neither does it subject itself to the rule or authority of any superior body. Each Grand Lodge holds absolute sovereignty within its jurisdiction.

The first of the Grand Lodges was the United Grand Lodge of England. In 1724, four Lodges met in London and formed the first governing body. They understood even then that the relation to the national government was an important issue:

"A Mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior magistrates for as Masonry hath been always injured by war, bloodshed, and confusion, so ancient Kings and Princes have been much disposed to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their peaceableness and loyalty, whereby they practically answered the calls of their adversaries, and promoted the honour of the Fraternity, who ever flourished in times of peace. So that if a Brother should be a rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanced in his rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man and, if convicted of no other crime, though the loyal Brotherhood must and ought to disown his rebellion, and give no umbrage or ground of political jealousy to the government for the time being they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his relation to it remains indefeatible. [13]

"The foregoing is a copy of Section II of the Constitution of Masonry as written by James Anderson for the Grand Lodge of England, and adopted by that grand lodge and printed on "this 17th Day of January, 1724." It was the article most frequently quoted in Masonic circles throughout the Civil War." [14]

These men who authored this Grand Lodge certainly understood the importance of loyalty to both the state and to the Fraternity. But the most important contribution that they made to the preservation of the Craft was the invention of the Grand Lodge system.

There is debate as to when the first Masonic Lodge was formed here in America. Some estimates trace it back to the 1650's or before. [15] Certainly, however, there were Lodges in place by the early 18th century. The first Grand Lodge in the Americas, in Massachusetts, was chartered in 1733. Importantly, it was totally sovereign from the Grand Lodge of England. By the time of the Civil War, 38 independent Grand Lodges existed in the United States. [16]

Each of these Grand Lodges was independent from all of the others, and absolutely sovereign within its own jurisdictional boundaries. This lack of a national leadership is a major reason why Freemasonry as a whole did not fracture along geographical boundaries, as did many of the other organizations. In those cases, groups like the Baptist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, and others, all had some sort of national leadership council, comprised of representatives of all of the various regions throughout the country. And as the war fractured the country along a definitive line, so too did it divide the national committees of these various groups. It is not logical to assume that any organization, no matter how deeply held their convictions are, no matter how dedicated to their ideals the membership might be, could survive intact. In such a situation, where the leadership of the group is so deeply and obviously split, is it any wonder that the individual group members themselves broke away?

This element was missing from Freemasonry, however. There was no "Grand Lodge of America" to oversee the ones in the states. There was no national committee of leadership to look to for guidance. The individual Grand Lodges were on their own. The rules and regulations that they laid down were only valid within their jurisdiction.

Therefore, a Mason in Georgia did not have to be concerned with the views of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on the issues of slavery and states' rights. He only had to be concerned with those of the Georgia body. Such a man would have a definite and palpable interest in the affairs of his state's Masonic body, and, importantly, he would have an avenue to make his thoughts and feelings on the various subjects heard. It could be easily said that he had a more direct link to the business and affairs of the Grand Lodge of his state than to the government of the United States.

This brings me to my final reason. The Masonic brotherhood is founded on three basic principles that we use to provide a moral guideline for our lives. Those three tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. The concepts themselves seem simple enough. The first teaches us that we should love and respect all of our brethren of the earth, regardless of whether they are members of the Craft or not. The second teaches that we should do all that we can to help those who need our assistance. The third teaches us that we should ever seek the light of knowledge, for only in knowledge can men be truly free.

During the Civil War, Masons on both sides of the line had opportunities to display those virtues. The story of Armistead, Bingham, and Hancock is only one of hundreds of anecdotes that can be related about Masonic brotherhood overcoming the hatred and animosity of the Civil War.

There are a number of documented stories of warfare being put aside for the purposes of Masonic funerals. In Galveston, a Confederate Major named Tucker performed Masonic funeral services for a Union Captain named Wainwright who had died in Tucker's prison. "A public procession consisting of 'both friends and foe wearing the insignia of the Order, and accompanied with a proper military escort' accompanied the body to the Episcopal cemetery." [17] In another case, a Masonic Union Naval commander named Hart was killed on board his vessel during a long bombardment. A small craft sailed into that Louisiana port under a truce flag, and asked for a Mason. W.W. Leake, the man who responded, immediately opened his Lodge and afforded Hart full Masonic rites.

Some Masons took to wearing the signs and symbols of the Craft on their uniforms, in the hopes that a Mason on the other side, upon recognizing him as a Brother, would spare him harm.

Masons were also very active in the hospitals and the care units at the sites of major battles. Often, the hospitals were located on the farms or in the buildings owned by Masons. The Masonic Temple in Vicksburg was used as a hospital first by the Confederates, and then by the Federals after the fall of Vicksburg on 4 July, 1863. [18]

There are many reasons why Freemasonry was able to survive the divisiveness of the Civil War. The sense of tradition that extends back over many centuries lends it an air of dignity and reverence that is very difficult to ignore. No other organization or government has so long and storied a tradition.

A man must choose to a Mason. He cannot be born or forced into it. In an organization that a person chooses to join, there is a more developed sense of loyalty to that group. Those in which there is no choice, such as governments and religions, have less of such a loyal following.

Finally, the structure of the Craft itself lends itself to an advanced sense of coherency. Politics and religion, two of the most divisive elements in human history, did not enter the Lodge room. Every Mason was able to have an equal voice in the running of the Lodge. Each of the Grand Lodges was independent of the others. While there were well-developed lines of communication, no state had to surrender sovereignty to any other. Neither did they submit themselves to the rule of a supreme council. Lastly, the three tenets of the Craft, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, required Masons to act differently than non-Masons.

With all of these factors working in their favor, it becomes more evident why Freemasons were able to hold together as an organization more readily than many of their contemporaries. All of the traditions and history established Masonry as a legitimate organization. The attractive elements of Freemasonry itself made membership something that men were eager to embrace. And once these tenets of the Craft had been embraced, disobedience of them was unthinkable. So men, as Masons, were able to overcome all of the political strife and ideological turmoil, simply by holding true to a set of principles that were established long before there was a Union to fight over. A noble accomplishment, to say the least.

Bibliography

Munn, Sheldon A. Freemasons at Gettysburg. Gettysburg, Pa: Thomas Publications, 1993

Roberts, Allen E. Masonic Trivia and Facts. Highland Springs, Va: Anchor Communications, 1994

Roberts, Allen E. House Undivided: The Story of Freemasonry and the Civil War. Fulton, Mo: The Ovid Bell Press, Inc. 1961

Waite, Arthur Edward, ed. A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. combined ed. New York, NY: Weathervane Books, 1970

Motts, Wayne E. "Trust In God And Fear Nothing": Gen. Lewis A. Armistead, CSA. Gettysburg, Pa: Farnsworth House Military Impressions, 1994.

Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (Gen.) Through Blood & Fire at Gettysburg: My Experiences with the 20th Maine Regiment on Little Round Top. Gettysburg, Pa: Stan Clark Military Books, 1994 (Reprinted from Hearst's Magazine from 1913 on the 50th Anniversary of Gettysburg.)

Footnotes

[1] From Allen E. Roberts Masonic Trivia and Facts Highland Springs, Va, Anchor Communications, 1994. 87.

[2] I am a Master Mason of American Union Lodge #1, Free & Accepted Masons, in Marietta Ohio. I have been involved with Masonry (as a member of the Order of DeMolay) since I was 14 years old. I have always had a favorable opinion of the Craft, but I will attempt to view this subject from as objective a point of view as possible.

[3] This quote appears numerous times in the ceremonies of initiation for the Masonic degrees.

[4] Gordon Cook, personal interview. Columbus, Ohio, 4 November 1995 and Munn 6-19. Cook is a member of the Masonic Lodge of Civil War Research.

[5] Sheldon A. Munn, Freemasons at Gettysburg (Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications, 1993) 5.

[6] The sign of distress is a secret sign that is taught to a new Brother at the time of his raising to the degree of Master Mason. It is not a sign that is to be used lightly, but only in times of dire need.

[7] By tradition, a new Brother takes all of his obligations on the same Bible. He is then presented with this book at the time of his raising, as a reminder of all that he has passed through.

[8] Allen E. Roberts House Undivided: The Story of Freemasonry and the Civil War (Fulton, Mo The Ovid Bell Press, Inc, 1961) 33-35.

[9] The general text and message of the Masonic degrees have not changed since long before the time of the Civil War. Therefore, the stories I heard and the events I witnessed in 1995 are little different than the ones that Civil War-era Masons experienced.

[10] The three degrees in the Symbolic Lodge, or Blue Lodge, which is the foundation of the Grand Lodge system, are Entered Apprentice, FellowCraft, and Master Mason. Any further degrees are attained through other bodies appendant to the Blue Lodge. Once a man is made a Master Mason, he is free to choose not to join any other organizations. Or he may continue on through either the York Rite or Scottish Rite bodies. See the attached sheet for a tracing of the various degrees in each organization.

[11] The elections and business of the Lodge are conducted on the Master Mason degree. By rule, only Master Masons are present. "In good standing" refers to the payment of dues. Therefore, Master Masons who are not delinquent in the payment of his dues are eligible to vote and to hold office in the Lodge.

[15] Arthur Edward Waite A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Combined edition, (New York, Weathervane Books, 1970) 461-463.

[16] Massachusetts, 1733 North Carolina, 1771 Virginia, 1777 New York, 1 781 Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, 1786 Maryland, South Carolina, 1787 Connecticut, New Hampshire, 1789 Rhode Island, 1791 Vermont, 1794 Kentucky, 1800 Delaware, 1806 Ohio, 1808 District of Columbia, 1810 Louisiana, 1812 Tennessee, 1813 Indiana, Mississippi, 1818 Maine, 1820 Missouri, Alabama, 1821 Florida, 1830 Arkansas, 1832 Texas, 1837 Illinois, 1840 Wisconsin, 1843 Iowa, Michigan, 1844 Kansas, California, 1850 Oregon, 1851 Minnesota, 1853 Nebraska, 1857 Washington, 1858 and Colorado, 1861 (from Waite 462)

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Contents

Armistead, known to friends as "Lo" (for Lothario), Ώ] was born in the home of his great-grandfather, John Wright Stanly, in New Bern, North Carolina, to Walker Keith Armistead and Elizabeth Stanly. ΐ] He came from an esteemed military family. Α] Armistead was of entirely English descent, and all of his ancestry had been in Virginia since the early 1600s. Β] The first of his ancestors to emigrate to North America was William Armistead from Yorkshire, England. Β] Γ] Δ] Armistead's father was one of five brothers who fought in the War of 1812 another was Major George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry during the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner", which would later become the national anthem of the United States. On his mother's side, his grandfather John Stanly was a U.S. Congressman, and his uncle Edward Stanly served as military governor of eastern North Carolina during the Civil War. [ citation needed ]

Armistead attended the United States Military Academy, joining in 1833 but resigning the same year. He rejoined in 1834 but was found deficient and had to repeat his class once more. In 1836 he resigned again following an incident in which he broke a plate over the head of fellow cadet (and future Confederate general) Jubal Early. Ε] He was also having academic difficulties, however, particularly in French (a subject of difficulty for many West Point cadets of that era), and some historians cite academic failure as his true reason for leaving the academy. Ζ]

His influential father managed to obtain for his son a second lieutenant's commission in the 6th U.S. Infantry on July 10, 1839, at roughly the time his classmates graduated. He was promoted to first lieutenant on March 30, 1844. Armistead's first marriage was to Cecelia Lee Love, a distant cousin of Robert E. Lee, in 1844. Η] They had two children: Walker Keith Armistead and Flora Lee Armistead.

Armistead then served in Fort Towson, Oklahoma, Fort Washita near the Oklahoma border. Serving in the Mexican War, he was appointed brevet captain for Contreras and Churubusco, wounded at Chapultepec, and was appointed a brevet major for Molino del Rey and Chapultepec. ΐ]

Armistead continued in the Army after the Mexican War, assigned in 1849 to recruiting duty in Kentucky, where he was diagnosed with a severe case of erysipelas, but he later recovered. In April 1850, the Armisteads lost their little girl, Flora Love, at Jefferson Barracks. Armistead was posted to Fort Dodge, but in the winter he had to take his wife Cecelia to Mobile, Alabama, where she died December 12, 1850, from an unknown cause. He returned to Fort Dodge. In 1852 the Armistead family home in Virginia burned, destroying nearly everything. Armistead took leave in October 1852 to go home and help his family. While on leave Armistead married his second wife, the widow Cornelia Taliaferro Jamison, in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 17, 1853. [ citation needed ] They both went west when Armistead returned to duty shortly thereafter.

The new Armistead family traveled from post to post in Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. The couple had one child, Lewis B. Armistead, who died on December 6, 1854, and was also buried at Jefferson Barracks next to Flora Lee Armistead. He was promoted to captain on March 3, 1855. ⎖] His second wife, Cornelia Taliaferro Jamison, died on August 3, 1855, at Fort Riley, Kansas, during a cholera epidemic. [ citation needed ]

Between 1855 and 1858 Armistead served at posts on the Smoky Hill River in Kansas Territory, Bent's Fort, Pole Creek, Laramie River, and Republican Fork of the Kansas River in Nebraska Territory. In 1858, his 6th Infantry Regiment was sent as part of the reinforcements sent to Utah in the aftermath of the Utah War. Not being required there, they were sent to California with the intention of sending them on to Washington Territory. However, a Mohave attack on civilians on the Beale Wagon Road diverted his regiment to the southern deserts along the Colorado River to participate in The Mojave Expedition of 1858-59.

Lt. Col. William Hoffman, at the head of a column of six companies of infantry, two of dragoons, and some artillery, struggled up the Colorado River from Fort Yuma. On April 23, 1859, Colonel Hoffman dictated a peace to the overawed Mohave chiefs, threatening annihilation to the tribe if they did not cease hostilities, make no opposition to the establishment of posts and roads through their country, and allow travel free from their harassment. Hoffman also took some of their leading men or family members hostage. Afterward he left for San Bernardino, taking most of his force with him others went down river by steamboat or overland to Fort Tejon.

Captain Armistead was left with two infantry companies and the column's artillery to garrison Hoffman's encampment at Beale's Crossing on the east bank of the Colorado River, Camp Colorado. Armistead renamed the post Fort Mojave. In late June 1859 the Mohave hostages escaped from Fort Yuma. Trouble broke out with the Mohave a few weeks later when they stole stock from a mail station that had been established two miles south of Fort Mojave, and attacked it. Mohaves tore up melons planted by the soldiers near the fort, and the soldiers shot a Mohave who was working in a garden. Eventually after a few weeks of aggressive patrolling and skirmishes, Armistead attacked the Mohave who returned fire in a battle between about 50 soldiers and 200 Mohave, resulting in three soldiers wounded. Twenty-three Mohave bodies were found but more were killed and wounded and removed by the Mohave. Following this defeat, the Mohave made a peace, which they kept from then on. ⎗]


Walker Keith Armistead

Walker Keith Armistead (March 25, 1783 – October 13, 1845) [1] [2] was a military officer who served as Chief of Engineers of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Armistead was born in Upperville, Fauquier County, Virginia, and served as an orderly sergeant at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He graduated from West Point in 1803. During the War of 1812, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and successively served as Chief Engineer of the Niagara frontier army and the forces defending Chesapeake Bay. He was promoted to colonel and Chief Engineer on November 12, 1818. When the Army was reorganized on June 1, 1821, he became commander of the 3rd Artillery Regiment. He was brevetted brigadier general in November 1828. He succeeded Zachary Taylor as commander of the army during the Second Seminole War against the Seminole Indians in Florida in 1840–1841.

After 42 years of service as a commissioned officer, Armistead died in New Market, Virginia at the age of 72, and is buried in the Armistead family cemetery in Upperville.

His brother George Armistead commanded Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. The attack became immortalized by onlooker Francis Scott Key who penned "The Star-Spangled Banner" while watching the British bombardment of Armistead's fort.

This article contains public domain text from "Colonel Walker Keith Armistead". Portraits and Profiles of Chief Engineers. Archived from the original on April 4, 2005 . Retrieved May 13, 2005 .


Lewis Addison Armistead

State Served: Virginia
Highest Rank: Brig-Gen
Birth Date: 1817
Death Date: 1863
Birth Place: New Berne, North Carolina
Army: Confederacy
Promotions: Promoted to Full Colonel (57th VA Inf)
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen

Biography: Brigadier-General Lewis Addison Armistead

Lewis Addison Armistead was born at New Bern, N. C., February 18, 1817, a son of Gen. Walker Keith Armistead, who, with four brothers, served in the war of 1812.

He was appointed a cadet in the United States military academy in 1834, and on July 10, 1839, he became second lieutenant in the Sixth United States infantry. In March, 1844, he was promoted first lieutenant, and in this rank entered the war with Mexico, in which he was distinguished, receiving the brevet rank of captain for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco, and brevet major for his services at Molino del Rey.

He continued in the army until the beginning of the Confederate war, serving for some time against the Indians on the border, and being promoted captain in 1855.

He was given the rank of major, Confederate States army, to date from March 16, 1861, and later in the same year became colonel of the Fifty-seventh Virginia regiment, which he commanded in the neighborhood of Suffolk and in the defense of the Blackwater in the following winter.

April 1, 1862, he was promoted brigadier-general, and in this rank he was assigned to the command of a brigade in the division of Benjamin Huger. At Seven Pines, on the first day, he was distinguished for personal bravery, making a heroic stand with a small part of his men against an entire brigade of the enemy until reinforced by Pickett.

On June 25th, he was stationed about 5 miles from Richmond, between York River railroad and the Williamsburg road, where he was engaged in continual skirmishing until the advance to Malvern hill. In this latter battle he was ordered by General Lee to “charge with a yell” upon the enemy’s position, after the action of the artillery had been shown to be effective.

“After bringing on the action in the most gallant manner by repulsing an attack of a heavy body of the enemy’s skirmishers,” General Magruder reported, “he skillfully lent support to the contending troops” in front of his position.

After this campaign he was identified with the excellent record of R. H. Anderson’s and Pickett’s divisions, commanding a brigade consisting of the Ninth, Fourteenth, Thirty-eighth, Fifty-third and Fifty-seventh Virginia regiments. On September 6th, at the outset of the Maryland campaign, he was assigned to the duty of provost marshal general of the army, considered by General Lee at that juncture of the greatest importance, and in that capacity he brought up the rear of the army as it advanced.

He participated in operations of General McLaws against Harper’s Ferry, and after the retreat was left at Shepherdstown to guard the ford. He continued with Pickett’s division throughout its subsequent duty.

Reaching the battlefield of Gettysburg on the 3rd of July, he formed his men in the second line of assault against Cemetery hill.

“Conspicuous to all, 50 yards in advance of his brigade, waving his hat in the air, General Armistead led his men upon the enemy with a steady bearing which inspired all with enthusiasm and courage. Far in advance of all, he led the attack till he scaled the works of the enemy and fell wounded in their hands, but not until he had driven them from their position and seen his colors planted over their fortifications.

” This was the testimony of Colonel Aylett, who succeeded to the immediate command of the remnant of the brigade that was led into action.

General Lee wrote in his report, “Brigadier-Generals Armistead, Barksdale, Garnett and Semmes died as they had lived, discharging the highest duties of patriots with devotion that never faltered and courage that shrank from no danger.”


General Lewis Addison Armistead

I've studied the battle of Gattysburg more than any other. One of the key figures of that engagement was Confederate General Armistead. He died of wounds
received there. General Armistead married into my family, so I can put him in my file.


Brigadier-General Lewis Addison Armistead was born at New Bern, N. C., February 18, 1817, a son of Gen. Walker Keith Armistead, who, with four brothers, served
in the war of 1812.


He was appointed a cadet in the United States military academy in 1834, and on July 10, 1839, he became second lieutenant in the Sixth United States infantry.
In March, 1844, he was promoted first lieutenant, and in this rank entered the war with Mexico, in which he was distinguished, receiving the brevet rank of
captain for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco, and brevet major for his services at Molino del Rey.


He continued in the army until the beginning of the Confederate war, serving for some time against the Indians on the border, and being promoted captain in
1855.


He was given the rank of major, Confederate States army, to date from March 16, 1861, and later in the same year became colonel of the Fifty-seventh Virginia
regiment, which he commanded in the neighborhood of Suffolk and in the defense of the Blackwater in the following winter.


April 1, 1862, he was promoted brigadier-general, and in this rank he was assigned to the command of a brigade in the division of Benjamin Huger. At Seven
Pines, on the first day, he was distinguished for personal bravery, making a heroic stand with a small part of his men against an entire brigade of the enemy
until reinforced by Pickett.


On June 25th, he was stationed about 5 miles from Richmond, between York River railroad and the Williamsburg road, where he was engaged in continual
skirmishing until the advance to Malvern hill. In this latter battle he was ordered by General Lee to "charge with a yell" upon the enemy's
position, after the action of the artillery had been shown to be effective.


"After bringing on the action in the most gallant manner by repulsing an attack of a heavy body of the enemy's skirmishers," General Magruder
reported, "he skillfully lent support to the contending troops" in front of his position.


After this campaign he was identified with the excellent record of R. H. Anderson's and Pickett's divisions, commanding a brigade consisting of the
Ninth, Fourteenth, Thirty-eighth, Fifty-third and Fifty-seventh Virginia regiments. On September 6th, at the outset of the Maryland campaign, he was assigned
to the duty of provost marshal general of the army, considered by General Lee at that juncture of the greatest importance, and in that capacity he brought up
the rear of the army as it advanced.


He participated in operations of General McLaws against Harper's Ferry, and after the retreat was left at Shepherdstown to guard the ford. He continued
with Pickett's division throughout its subsequent duty.


Reaching the battlefield of Gettysburg on the 3rd of July, he formed his men in the second line of assault against Cemetery hill.


"Conspicuous to all, 50 yards in advance of his brigade, waving his hat in the air, General Armistead led his men upon the enemy with a steady bearing
which inspired all with enthusiasm and courage. Far in advance of all, he led the attack till he scaled the works of the enemy and fell wounded in their
hands, but not until he had driven them from their position and seen his colors planted over their fortifications."


This was the testimony of Colonel Aylett, who succeeded to the immediate command of the remnant of the brigade that was led into action.


General Lee wrote in his report, "Brigadier-Generals Armistead, Barksdale, Garnett and Semmes died as they had lived, discharging the highest duties of
patriots with devotion that never faltered and courage that shrank from no danger."


Source: Confederate Military History, vol. IV, p. 576


CONFEDERATE FIRST CORPS, PICKETT'S DIVISION, ARMISTEAD'S BRIGADE 1,946 men


BRIGADIER GENERAL LEWIS ADDISON ARMISTEAD


At forty-six, Lewis Armistead (pronounced "UM-sted" in nineteenth-century Virginia) was Pickett's eldest brigadier. His nickname was
"Lo" to his friends, short for "Lothario," which was meant to be a joke--unlike the Shakespearean lover, he was a widower with a shy and
silent mien. He was gray above a receding hairline, and his hair and grizzled beard were close-cropped, rather unusual for that woolly time.


Armistead came from a military family--his father and four uncles had fought in the War of 1812, and it was one of those uncles who had commanded Fort McHenry
during the attack witnessed by Francis Scott Key. Young Lewis was sent to West Point to continue the family tradition, but was forced to leave: he was expelled
for breaking a plate over the head of fellow cadet Jubal Early, but he would soon have been forced to leave anyway--he was failing in his studies on account of
insufficient preparation. Despite this setback, he refused to be denied a career as a soldier, and was commissioned directly into the infantry in 1839 at the
age of twenty-two. He distinguished himself in the Mexican war, where he was wounded at Chapultapec and earned two commendations for bravery. Otherwise, he
spent his pre-war years in the Old Army's frontier posts. When the South seceded, Armistead had been in the army for twenty-two years, but had risen only
to captain of infantry due to the glacial promotion rate of the peacetime army.


Armistead was posted in the little adobe village of Los Angeles when the war began, and on June 15, 1861, Capt. Winfield S. Hancock's wife gave a party for
the several officers that had resigned their commissions and were about to leave to join the Confederate army. Despite the awkward situation, everyone parted
good friends. As the party was breaking up, Col. Albert Sidney Johnston's wife sat down at the piano, and sang "Kathleen Malvourneen." (A song of
loss, the lyrics went "It may be for years, and it may be forever.") According to Mrs. Hancock, Captain Armistead walked across to his host, and put
his hands on his friend's shoulders as the tears streamed down, and said, "Hancock, good-by you can never know what this has cost me."


In mid-September 1861, back in Richmond after a grueling cross-country trek, Armistead was made colonel of the 57th Virginia volunteer regiment. The next
April, before he had seen any fighting, he was promoted to brigadier general and given command of a brigade, which was serving near Norfolk in southeastern
Virginia. Moving his brigade to Richmond when the Peninsula Campaign began, he fought first at the Battle of Seven Pines where, during the Federal
counterattack on the second day, his regiments retreated, leaving Armistead alone to face an entire enemy brigade with only about thirty stalwart men. This
courageous episode was noted admiringly by Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill in his report after the battle. A month later, at the Battle of Malvern Hill, Armistead was
chosen to spearhead the attack after the Confederate artillery had softened up the Federal position, indicating that Lee had faith in Armistead's ability
and judgment. As it happened, Armistead's unfortunate brigade lost 388 men in one of the worst-conceived and -executed assaults of the war.


At Second Manassas in August 1862, Armistead was situated on the extreme right of Longstreet's assaulting corps. As the last to come in contact with the
retreating Federals, it was dark before he was called upon by Maj. Gen. "Jeb" Stuart, his superior on the scene, to deliver an attack against the
stiffening enemy resistance. Armistead refused, believing that a night attack would be futile and the danger of collision with friendly infantry too great.
This episode serves as an indication of Armistead's backbone and belief in his own judgment also, perhaps, a cautious nature.


Twenty-two years of Old Army service had made Armistead crusty and blunt, qualities which didn't endear him to the numerous civilians in the officers corps
of the volunteer Confederate army. One of his colonels quit, stating that "on every occasion Brig. Gen. Armistead's manner and tone are so offensive
and insulting that I can but believe he . . . wishes to force me to resign." Armistead replied, "I have felt obliged to speak to him as one military
man would to another and as I have passed nearly all my life in camps my manner may not be understood or appreciated by one who has been all his life a
civilian." A good indication that Armistead was widely known to be a hard-bitten, no-nonsense soldier was the fact that during the Maryland Campaign, from
September 6 to September 26, Lee made Armistead the army's provost marshal--its "chief of police." It was a frustrating assignment--desertions
were then at their peak in the Army of Northern Virginia, due to exhaustion, lack of shoes, bad diet, and many men's belief that invasion of the North was
wrong--and General Lee evidently felt he needed a notoriously tough man to keep straggling to a minimum.


Armistead was back at the head of his brigade at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where the entire division held in reserve. The division missed the battle of
Chancellorsville, being detached to Suffolk in southeastern Virginia.


By the early summer of 1863, Armistead was known for his toughness, sound judgment and great personal courage. However, his brigade had the least contact with
the enemy of any in the Army of Northern Virginia over the previous year. Armistead and his men, with their unfortunate experiences at Seven Pines and Malvern
Hill a full year past, were in fine fettle and eager for another chance to get at the Yankees.


Armistead was with the rest of Pickett's division at Chambersburg in the army's rear on July 1.


On July 2, Armistead shared the division's march toward Gettysburg, going into bivouac in the late afternoon a few miles east of town, and was spared any
fighting.


On the morning of July 3, Armistead and his men, along with those of Brig. Gens. Richard Garnett and James Kemper, were brought forward, finally lying down in
a swale just east of Spangler's Woods, behind a low ridge on which was perched a line of Rebel artillery. For the coming assault on the Union center on
Cemetery Ridge, Armistead's brigade was deployed alone in Pickett's second line, behind Garnett and Kemper.


During the nearly two-hour artillery duel between 1 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Armistead exposed himself dangerously to the hissing Union metal. One
of his men rose to protest, fearing the general would be killed, but Armistead ordered him back down, saying, "Never mind me we want men with guns in
their hands."


After the artillery had subsided, the infantrymen stood and prepared for the assault which would be known forever as "Pickett's Charge."
Armistead addressed his men briefly with his usual speech: "Men, remember your wives, your mothers, you sisters and your sweethearts." As his brigade
started forward in precise synchronization with the rest of the division, Armistead, going forward on foot, took his old black slouch hat off his
close-cropped, grizzled head, placed it on the point of his sword, and held it high for the men to see and follow. Unfortunately, the point of the sword soon
pierced the fabric, and the hat descended slowly along the blade, finally resting on the hilt. It sat on his fist as Armistead approached the Union lines,
until he put it again at the tip. By the time Armistead had crossed the Emmitsburg Road and his men were trading musketry fire with the Union men in front of
the Clump of Trees immediately in his front, he was the only brigadier left to lead the division--Garnett and Kemper were both down. As he reached the stone
wall, sensing that his men were hesitating, Armistead called out, "Come on boys, give them the cold steel! Who will follow me?" He stepped over the
wall toward a battery of abandoned Union guns, and somewhere between 100 and 300 of his men followed him across the barrier, where they faced a solid line of
blue regiments with flashing rifles. This is the moment which would become famous as the High-water Mark of the Confederacy. Just before reaching one of the
Union guns, Armistead was hit by three bullets in the chest and arm. He staggered forward, put his hand on a cannon to steady himself, then fell.


Armistead was carried into the Union lines and taken to a surgeon, who later described him as "seriously wounded, completely exhausted, and seemingly
broken-spirited." The doctor told Armistead that he was dying. Armistead then spoke words whose meaning would later be heatedly debated by both sides:
"Say to General Hancock for me, that I have done him, and you all, a grievous injury, which I shall always regret." He died two days later in a Union
hospital.


Source: The Generals at Gettysburg by Larry Tagg


Lewis Addison Armistead, Confederate Civil War general whose run of bad luck before and during the war was legend, died from battle wounds on July 5, 1863. He
was 46.


Armistead was born February 18, 1817 in New Bern, North Carolina. He attended West Point, but resigned his appointment for the second time in 1836 for hitting
fellow classmate Jubal Early over the head with a mess hall plate.


Despite his less than honorable discharge from West Point, Armistead did get an officer's commission in 1839 to fight in the Seminole Wars in Florida. It
is reported that Armistead's connections (his father was a general and his uncle a U.S. Congressman) helped secure the commission.


Finishing out his tour of duty in Florida, Armistead's next assignment was in St. Louis in 1842. Two years later he married Cecilia Lee Love. They had two
children, a son and a daughter.


Armistead saw action in the Mexican War where he was given a battlefield promotion to major.


In 1849 he was ordered to Kentucky to serve recruiting duty. It was here his incredible string of bad luck began. He was diagnosed with a degenerative tissue
disease. The offending skin was removed, and he recovered.


But in 1850, the Armisteads' baby girl died. Later that year, Mrs. Armistead died. Armistead remarried in 1853 to Cornelia Jamesson. Their infant son died
in 1854, and in 1855 Cornelia died of cholera at Fort Riley, Kansas.


Meantime, the Armistead plantation in Virginia burned. Within a six-year period, Armistead had lost two children, two wives, and his parent's home in
Virginia, not to mention Armistead's skin disease which left him scarred.


The Civil War was looming, and in May 1861 Armistead resigned his U.S. commission to join the rebel army as a major.


He was soon promoted to Colonel in command of the 57th Virginia Infantry Regiment. In April 1862, he was appointed brigadier general in charge of a brigade of
infantry.


Armistead's high water mark and perhaps the South's as well came at the Battle of Gettysburg. Armistead was in the lead elements of General George
Pickett's 15,000-man infantry brigade which stormed Cemetery Ridge on the last day of the battle on July 3. Briefly holding the ridge, the badly decimated
rebel force was forced to withdraw. Armistead was shot in the upper right arm and above the left knee. Reportedly not life threatening, Armistead nevertheless
died of his wounds on July 5, 1863 at a Union field hospital near the battlefield.


Armistead was buried at the site, and later reburied by his uncle in Baltimore's St. Paul's Cemetery.


Tag: Lewis Addison Armistead

Armistead is a prominent name in Virginia, the family going back to colonial days. Five Armistead brothers fought in the war of 1812. Major George Armistead commanded Fort McHenry during the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. Major Armistead became an uncle on this day in 1817, to Lewis Addison Armistead, the first of eight children born to General Walker Keith Armistead and Elizabeth Stanley.

Lewis Addison Armistead

“Lothario” or “Lo” to his friends, Armistead followed in the family footsteps, attending the US Military Academy at West Point. He never graduated, some say he had to resign after breaking a plate over the head of fellow cadet and future Confederate General Jubal Early. Others say it was due to academic difficulties, particularly French class.

Armistead’s influential father gained him a 2nd Lieutenant’s commission nevertheless, awarded in 1839, about the same time his former classmates received theirs. Armistead’s field combat experience reads like a time-line of his age: cited three times for heroism in the Mexican-American War, wounded at the Battle of Chapultepec, going on to serve in the Mohave War and the Battle of the Colorado River.

Stellar though his military career was, the man’s personal life was a mess. Armistead survived two wives and two daughters, only to lose the family farm in a fire, all while fighting a severe case of Erysipelas, a painful skin condition known in the Middle Ages as “St. Anthony’s Fire”.

It’s been said that conjugating the “Be” verb changed after the Civil War. Before, it was the United States “are”. Afterward, it became the United States “is”. Not for no reason. This was a time when Patriotic Americans felt every bit the attachment to their states, as to the nation.

Fellow Americans took sides on the eve of the Civil War. Even brothers. Like his fellow Virginian Robert E. Lee, Armistead wanted no part of secession, but followed his state when it became inevitable.

Winfield Scott Hancock

Pennsylvania native Winfield Scott Hancock went the other direction, staying with the Union. Years later, Hancock would run for the Presidency, only narrowly losing to James A. Garfield. Noted for personal integrity in a time of rampant political corruption, President Rutherford B. Hayes said of Hancock, “… [I]f, when we make up our estimate of a public man, conspicuous both as a soldier and in civil life, we are to think first and chiefly of his manhood, his integrity, his purity, his singleness of purpose, and his unselfish devotion to duty, we can truthfully say of Hancock that he was through and through pure gold.”

Armistead and Hancock served together on the frontiers, developing a close personal friendship as early as 1844. On their final parting on the eve of war, Armistead made Hancock the gift of a new Major’s uniform. To Hancock’s wife he gave his own prayer book, bearing the inscription ”Trust In God And Fear Nothing”.

Three years came and went before the old friends once again faced one another, this time across the field of battle. Robert E. Lee tried to go after the Union right on that first day at Gettysburg, looking for a soft spot in the line. On day two, he went after the left. On the afternoon of July 3, 1863, Lee went straight up the middle.

The two looked across that field as gray and butternut soldiers formed up along seminary ridge. It’s unlikely they ever saw one another. The action has gone into history as “Pickett’s Charge”, though the term is a misnomer. Major General George Pickett commanded only one of three units taking part in the assault, under Lieutenant General James Longstreet.

The pace was almost leisurely as Pickett’s, Trimble’s and Pettigrew’s Confederate soldiers stepped over the stone wall. 13,000 crossing abreast, bayonets glinting in the sun, pennants rippling in the breeze.

You cannot escape the sense of history if you’ve ever crossed that field. Stepping off Seminary Ridge with a mile to go, you are awe struck at the mental image of thousands of blue clad soldiers, awaiting your advance. Halfway across and just coming into small arms range, you can’t help a sense of relief as you step across a low spot and your objective, the “copse of trees”, drops out of sight. If you can’t see them they can’t shoot at you. Then you look to your right and realize that cannon would be firing down the length of your lines from Little Round Top, as would those on Cemetery Hill to your left. Rising out of the draw you are now in full sight of Union infantry. You quicken your pace as your lines are torn apart from the front and sides. Fences hold in some spots along the Emmitsburg Road. Hundreds of your comrades are shot down in the attempt to climb over.

Finally you are over and it’s a dead run. Seeing his colors cut down, Hancock puts his hat atop his sword, holding it high and bellowing above the roar of the guns “Come on, boys, give them the cold steel! Who will follow me!”

The “High tide of the Confederacy” marks the point between the corner of a stone wall and that copse of trees, the farthest the shattered remnants of Longstreet’s assault would ever get. Lewis Armistead made it over that wall before being shot down, falling beside the wheels of a Union cannon.

I always wondered what would have happened had J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry come out of the woods to the Union rear, but that wasn’t meant to be. The Confederate advance couldn’t hold, wilting in the face of overwhelming Federal firepower.

Gettysburg veterans on the 50th anniversary of the battle, July 1-3, 1913

Armistead lay bleeding as he asked a nearby soldier about Hancock. General Hancock was himself wounded by this time, the bullet striking his saddle pommel and entering his thigh, along with shards of wood and a saddle nail. When told his best friend was also wounded, Armistead said ”Not both of us on the same day!”. Armistead spoke to Captain Henry Bingham, Hancock’s aide, saying “Tell General Hancock, from me, that I have done him and you all a grave injustice”.

One day, the country would reunite. The two friends never did. Lewis Armistead died of his wounds, two days later.


Watch the video: General Armistead and the last charge at Gettysburg the Picketts Charge


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