July 3,1863, 150 years ago today. After the failed attempts to push the Union Army off of the high ground by attacking the two flanks on the 2nd, General Robert E. Lee orders a charge against the Union center. James Longstreet tries to talk Lee out of the attack, telling the Confederate commanding general that such an attack across a mile long field under fire from the Union Army will most likely fail. But Lee refuses to call off the attack. George Pickett’s division, along with Pettigrew and Trimble are ordered forward. The attack, which becomes known as Pickett’s Charge, results in high causalities for the Confederates. There is not one general or colonel in Pickett’s division who is not either wounded or killed.
Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead, known by his friends as Lo, is one of the generals under Pickett. He was close friends with the commander of the Union 2nd Corps, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock. Up until this point, they had not faced each other across the same field, but on this day, Lo Armistead is charging right into his friends lines. During the charge, Armistead takes his hat from his head, and puts it on his sword to guide his men to the Union position at the stone wall. He was shot just inside the wall. Hancock was also injured that day in Gettysburg, but unlike Armistead he would survive his wound there and survive the war.
Top: Longstreet and Pickett
Bottom: Armistead and Hancock