Brigadier General Louis Addison Armistead

Lewis Armistead
Lewis "Lo" Armistead commanded a brigade in George Pickett's division of James Longstreet's I Corps. He was nicknamed "Lo" for "Lothario" which was meant to be a joke because his demeanor was shy and silent. Armistead's brigade arrived at Gettysburg after the Second Day's fighting, resting near the Chambersburg Pike. On 3 July, his brigade took up positions in a swale in front of Spangler's Woods, along with the brigades of Richard Garnett and James Kemper.

During Longstreet's assault, Armistead's brigade was assigned to the second rank to support Garnett and Kemper although it is not clear where, exactly, his troops were laterally positioned with respect to the two front brigades.

As the assault progressed, Armistead, on foot, took off his black slouch hat and placed it on the tip of his sword for his men to see and follow. By the time the front ranks reached The Angle, they were hoplessly intermingled, causing the assault to slow. Armistead, with his hat on his sword shouted, "Come on boys, give them the cold steel. Who will follow me?" Stepping over the wall with about 200 men following, he headed for Alonzo Cushing's battery of 3-inch rifles. Just as he put his hands on one of the guns, he was wounded in three places in the chest and arm. He died two days later.

A controversy swirls around Armistead's purported last words. The field medical officer's story is that Armistead, when told he was dying said, "Say to General Hancock for me, that I have done him, and you all a grevious injury, for which I shall always regret." The exact meaning of these words, or if they were even spoken, is the subject of heated debate.

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Tagg, L., The Generals of Gettysburg. Savas Publishing Co., Campbell, CA, 1998.
Created 10 NOV 1999; Modified 22 JUL 2014